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My mother passed away two weeks ago. I am a co-executor as well. Mother's well doesn't mention any of the gifts he has made. He says mother told him to do it. The money and jewelry all went to his old girl friends and people that work for him now or use to. Mother never told me about these gifts and we talked about everything right up to her death. I saw this co-executor nearly every day for the last 8 months when mother was in and out of the hospital and he never mentioned any of this to me either until he says the gifts were all made. There is nothing in writing that I know of either. Mother's will was really simple. All of her property was to be split evenly between my brother, my son, and my self.

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Something may have been done incorrectly, however, there is this concept of innocent until proven guilty, and (unfortunately) in Wills and probate, you have to get an attorney, who likely require lots of money up front--or, a good cut of money from the settlement they obtain for you. If there is not at least 50,000 in question, i wouldnt bother, because attoeney fees gonna cost you at least 10k. Go and ask some attorneys if they will take your case. Likely they will tell you its not worth it.
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Money is the root of all evil. I use to not think so but am now convinced that it is so. Why do people burden themselves with all the anguish, frustration and heartache fighting over money brings? Brother in your case i think going after what should be rightfully yours is the thing to do, but dont loose sleep over it. Make a plan work the plan with lawyers help and except the outcome. From what you have explained it will be a fight to get some things back especially the money given to caretakers and hired help. That never should have happened if as you say moms will did not specify it. I would have my doubts about this mans motives from the start, but you know him better than we do and perhaps he wasnt taking mom for a ride. One thing to remember is even people who have been around for decades can be running a con, they are in it for the long haul. You may want to develope a time line of events over the years to see if a pattern shows up that you didnt see at first. This will make you better prepared when you meet with the lawyer. I hope u will keep us updated as things progress, we all learn from each other.
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jeanlyles1 Did you report your sister in law to the State ethics board and the Bar Association. They take fraud (taking courses not related to her job with state money) very seriously and the BAR looks at a person's morality as well as legal behavior. At the very least if you file complaints with them all it will cause her problems and she deserves that at least. If you feel any of the doctors did something immoral or unethical, you can report them to the Medical Board in your state as well.
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This is why my brothers, sister in law, lawyers, doctor got away with doing away with my parents, for money. Each one unknowingly took part in the plan, the whole plan was planned and carried out by sister in law (attorney working for State). Hospice was used in the plan and their power reaches to a lot of other agencies, hospitals, and ultimate the lawyers. The sister in law even took State paid for courses in Health Care although she worked for the DOT in order to put her plans into affect. I understand what you are saying and that is the way I felt until I went through the horrors of loosing my Mother and Daddy in the worst possible way. Hospice could have been helpful however they were being directed by the sister in law who had no authority. She told the doctors what to do. I thought doctors had a responsibility that exceeded the authority of unrelated persons. Those directives ended my Daddy's life. And of course my sister and I were treated like crap. Our hired lawyers (50,000 in my and my sister's cost) also went along for the ride and although hired to protect my Mother and the Assets, that was ignored completely. Elderly Protection called the sister in law, ignored the people who did all the work over 35 yrs. Remember, follow the money. I Did, and all of this was found out after my parents were gone, all the fingerprints, liquidation of all assets stolen by this sister in law, her plans put into affect in two weeks after the lst death. (trust was worthless). My Dad and Mother went to resthomes over 25 years and the things my Dad told me were sick. The resthomes have not changed. They are worst. Sorry, if my experience exceeds anyone else's experience.
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jeanlyles1, I can't believe Hospice was brought in to help "kill" your mother. Hospice is to help people who are dying do so with dignity and without pain. Doctors, in my state anyway, authorize Hospice, you as a person don't just call Hospice in. Medicare pays for Hospice, there is paperwork involved. My mother had pancreatic cancer, one of my sister-in-laws had brain cancer, another one leukemia, we had Hospice for all 3 of them. It isn't just for dementia patients. Doctor's see them, nurses and social workers work with you. I have a sister-in-law who is a social worker for Hospice, there is no way in this world she would "kill" someone. Please get some grief counseling to help you through this difficult time in your life.
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Greed is a terrible thing. But yes, it's amazing how a little money - or a nice diamond can bring out the worst in people. I am truely surprise that these woman haven't returned the jewelry now that they know you object to them being given it - at that the "gifts" are in violation of your mothers will.
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Your lawyer should be able to help with getting the funds back. This coex is either stealing or under the wrong impression on his duties which is going by the will. If there is no codicil leaving certain items/money to certain people then the will is it.
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Two typos- should say "so he could help her" and "when she wanted to wear". Sorry, big thumb.
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I hired a probate lawyer who has 40 years of probate experience in my home state of Texas. He was recommended by a life long lawyer friend who is very successful himself. I'm beginning to feel more hopeful but still dealing with the betrayal. To answer a question, mother gave signatory privileges to this co-executor do he could help her manage her property and pay bills when necessary. She gave him a key to her safety deposit box and access privileges as well so he could get to her documents in times like now. And so he could get her jewelry when she wanted me wear it. She trusted him. I don't know when he lost his scruples. He has always been narcissistic but I don't think he was stealing until recently. Seems like there is a coincidence with the drinking problem. What does the comment about the "buns in the oven" means?

The ladies are also blowing my mind. One is an attorney who did some minor work for mother. They knew each other thru her parents who shared horse racing interests with mother. You would think she would have had better ethics than to take mother's jewelry. She knows mother's attorney very well also. She knew mother rejected the changes mother was considering to her will. She didn't even discuss the "gift" with mother's attorney. The other lady is a pediatrician who also was a witness to mother's will. She helped to treat mother too. Here is another ethics violation. I am not vengeful but all of these folks need to know that I will not cut them any slack. I'm in a state of disbelief over how quickly they have put themselves in jeopardy over some jewelry. If they wanted big diamond rings they're successful enough to buy their own.

I'll try to keep this post updated. Thanks for your comments and letting me vent.
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The rolls are making me hungry.
What is the meaning of the saying.?

Mu88
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And BTW, I'm still wondering about a lot of issues raised in this post.
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CWillie, if the appointment portion of the Will reads that the co-executors can act independently, then one or the other can in fact act on his/her own, without approval or consent from the other co-executor.

If the appointment language names them and indicates that they act jointly, then they must concur on actions.
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GA - rolls baking in the oven? I'm not familiar with that one..?
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GA, with co-executors would that not mean both would have to sign off to access accounts and the safe deposit box? I'm wondering how he managed to move all these assets?
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Try hard to find a honest lawyer to get your share. Getting copies of all paperwork for your own files is a challenge. They opposing side will refuse or never answer in giving you copies of everything. (one of their tricks) Go to courthouse to get what you can first.
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You should have your own lawyer, (I might also clarify your own HONEST lawyer) and that may be hard to find. Out of 6 lawyers when there should not be need for any, only one that later became a district judge, was honest. There is also some sneaky things going on with Hospice but I have never figured out what my brothers did. Hospice was brought in to help my brother kill my precious Mother who was not allsheimer or anything else. She was as sweet as she always was.
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A successful businessman who drinks and passes out in a stupor daily?

Hmmmm.....I smell rolls baking in the oven.
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Is it possible that this guy was scamming your mom from the start? A male "gold digger"? If he had POA authority I wonder if he was taking advantage of your mother while she was alive. Like I've said - something just feels off about him/the situation from what you've told us. I'm still wondering if he can be held accountable criminally. I mean, if he's not a beneficiary and there's nothing in writing that he's following your mothers wishes, you'd think that this could be considered theft. If that could be charged then the lady friends would have been "receiving stolen merchandise" which is a crime - surely that would motivate the ladies to return the jewelry- the cash would be harder to prove. Makes me wonder about these "ladies" - sounds like a cheap herd to be accepting and now keeping the jewelry - knowing you want it back, that it was unethically given to them and that the jewelry are family heirlooms. At the very minimum dispersing items of value prior to probate must be illegal in some way. What a crappy situation. Has your attorney said if it's possible to at least take civil action against this guy? I know that doesn't get the actual items of jewelry back but could provide some monetary compensation. Sorry for so many replies from me - your situation is just so unusual - it's got me thinking about it and the possible motives and recourse. - Not your typical "fighting over the stuff" situation at all. Please keep posting to let us know how it's going - lots of valuable information and lessons for us to learn from. And BTW - I should have said this earlier - I'm sorry for your loss of your mother. This must be so hard for you - lossing you mom and then being betrayed by someone she thought she could trust. Sorry!
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For further discussion and explanation- This co-executor is a man that is 6 years younger than I am and I am 63 years old. Mother was 86 when she passed. This guy was a friend of my younger brother who passed away when he was 36. This guys parents both died pretty young and my mother took an interest in him as he was my younger brothers friend and has helped to raise him and teach him about managing/acquiring rental properties. He has been very successful over the years and has accumulated a large estate of his own. He has remained close to my mother, has partnered some properties with her over the years, and has helped mother with scheduling maintenance repairs for her properties just as she has for him if he was away on vacations or otherwise not available. So this is not a case where the guy is desperate for money. He has his own view of the way the world should be and tries to make everything and everyone conform to his view. For instance, he has an opinion that my son is not responsible enough to receive a third of mother estate so he had been actively pressuring mother to set up a trust to dole the money out to him. When she didn't go along he changed his position and tried to influence mother to limit my sons inheritance to 50k, saying that after all my son would likely receive an inheritance from me and my older brother. He didn't want my wife to inherit the jewelry because he didn't think my wife was deserving as she is my second wife (married for over 20 years now). He was actively campaigning to have the jewelry distributed among his old girlfriends and my ex wife instead. Months ago mother asked her attorney to draft a new will that included a bunch of this guys thoughts. After 3 drafts mother rejected the new will and did not sign it, telling her attorney that she did not want to make any changes after all. It seems that this list of changes is his basis for giving away the jewelry and cash but even so he has cherry picked this list apparently as he sees fit. He is an alcoholic, drinks everyday starting at 9am and continuing until he passes out in a stupor every night. Mother was very aware of this and was very concerned for his health and well being. But mother really cared deeply for this guy and couldn't bring herself to cut ties with him or take away is signatory privileges to her accounts. He had a key to her safety deposit box and knew the code to her home safe. He cleaned out both and told me that he did so. A week after mother passed away (9 days ago) he invited me to lunch where he rattled off a list of what he had done with mothers assets. I don't know when he did it all. I know he gave my ex wife jewelry the day of my mothers memorial service. He gave away 14k in a cashiers check to a former tenant of mother's property and who was also a handy man that worked for the co-executor and my mother on their property from time to time. The co-executor told me he gave that guy 18k but the guy told me received 14K. He gave his laborer 50k of mothers money, I don't know when. Mother liked the laborer and talked about wanting to help him too, had his name on the listed changes to mother's will that she ultimately rejected. The list said mother was considering giving him 10k.

I hope this narrative sort of answers some of the question that have been raised. My mother was not mentally well. Her doctor saw evidence that she had had as many as 16 mini-strokes. Her memory was slipping badly. She would tell the same story over and over again, 15 minutes after she had already told it. The co-executor and I talked about her state of mind many times. Other than the 30k that he paid himself for taking mother to the doctors and helping in other small ways, I don't think his actions have been selfish or malicious. He was just trying to make the world align with the way he thought it should be. I do think he has violated his fiduciary responsibilities and certainly betrayed me, my son, my wife, and my older brother.
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I was picturing a few trinkets, this man has definitely overstepped his authority!! As GA says, speak to your lawyer immediately, see what you need to do to have him held accountable. Perhaps he himself will be motivated to beg his friends for the return of the jewellery when faced with jail time!
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The co-executor had signing authority so he could help mother pay bills and maintain rental property. He also had a key to her safety deposit box which he told me he cleaned out. Mother trusted him.
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Brother - just thought about this...I don't know about the state where your mom lived - but here when a will goes through probate, the executor is automatically granted 2% of the total value of the estate by the judge as payment for their service. If one wishes to not be paid this money, they need to put that in writting and submit it to the judge. Given the figure you quoted for your moms estate and as he is a "co" - 1% still comes to $10,000. If this guy is up to no good and/or has unethical motives and actions you may want to further pursue this matter with your attorney.
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Brother, based on your last post, I think giving away that much of the estate, IF the last expenses haven't been settled, and IF the heirs haven't received their shares, would be fiduciary mismanagement. Definitely raise this with the attorney as soon as you meet with her or him.

I also have the same question as RM - how did this person gain access to such valuable jewelry? I would think they would have been locked in a safe in your mother's home, or in a safety deposit box. And how did you become aware of these acts, how long have you known about it, and what have you done to stop him? Have you considered an injunction?

Something's amiss here.

Mulatta, aw, shucks! I'm just sharing what I learned over the years.
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And - how is it that as a "younger friend" he seems to have been very close to your mother - spending an awful lot of time with her if you saw him so much. A scam from the start maybe?
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Brother- how did the co-exec come to have possession of such valuable jewelry- did he take it from your mother while she was alive? Also - the cash you said he's been giving away - was he able to get your mother to put him on her account / how did he get access to it? You may have grounds for criminal charges.
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Garden, Rain, Pam, and all other contributors: YOU ALL ROCK!!! What a wealth of knowledge and experience!!!
I am in awe!

M88
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The co-executor is not my brother. "His jewelry" should say "this jewelry". The connection to these people who received"gifts" is that the co-executor brought them around my mother and friendly relations developed. The jewelry is family legacy and it's worth about $300k. Yes, this is a very big deal to me. My brother is to receive a third of mother's property as is my son. The estate is worth about a million dollars, except that the co-executor has given away about 40% of it!
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RM, you raise an issue that hasn't been discussed this far...the apparent consistent contact between the two co-executors, with no discussion of the OP's role, how the responsibilities were split, and similar issues.
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The more I think about this the more I think a piece of the story is missing. How did the co-executor get his hands on the jewelry to give away - the same holds true for your moms money. Did he have his name on her bank accounts? Banks won't release money in the case of death otherwise- they need probate information before they will hand over the cash. Also - you said you saw him nearly everyday for eight months as your mom was in/out of the hospital. That seems a little unusual for just a friend. What's up?
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You are on the right track, go to court, have him removed and the judge will order him to recover said items. Be sure you have an inventory with market value of these items.
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