I’ve made a lot of quick progress in the weeks since my dad died. His house is completely cleaned out and empty, one of the saddest sights, it’s got a good offer and should be officially sold in the next two weeks. I’ve distributed his belongings to various family, having them select things they wanted, taken loads to donation places, sold his car, paid bills, sold bigger items no one wanted, and sent his clothing to a place for men recovering from addiction issues. My sweet, thoughtful dad took a lot of steps to make this so much easier on me, he left me lots of notes spelling things out, and changed the deed on his home allowing me to sell with without going through probate. The hard parts have most all been the emotions and dealing with a sibling who isn’t reasonable in any way and never has been. He’s not well mentally, emotionally, physically, or in any way, has no consideration of others and is often cruel. My dad was his lifelong defender. My other sibling and I have some decisions to make on what our relationships with him will look like going forward. Any advice on that is welcome, and yes, I’ve even taken the Boundaries class! So, I’ve heard varying figures on how long to wait before disbursing money when all is settled, six months? Shorter or longer? Do I need to file my dad’s taxes next year? When I divide what’s left do I have to show siblings what each of us is getting or only what they individually are getting? Asking that because my dad’s will stipulates that executor gets more (and as I’ve done every bit of the above alone that sure makes sense now) and that money the problem sibling owed dad be repaid or “taken out” of his share. Pretty sure that’s not going to go down well and not looking forward to him being able to compare our amounts. So any thoughts or advice on my questions is appreciated
However, as dad "changed the deed on his house allowing me to sell without going though probate," does this mean that YOU now own the house? That may be a real sticking point.
If so, YOU are going to owe taxes on the capital gains from the sale on that house. You'll have inherited his cost basis rather than getting a new gost basis if you inherited it. That might not be much if he bought the house relatively recently, but if my folks had signed their house over to me, I'd be having to pay tax on the profit between their purchase price of $45,500 and the sale price of $1.8 million. (Yeah, it's California.)
I hope that isn't your situation, but if it is, you should consult a tax advisor. You do have to file taxes for your dad, and yours may have just gotten very complicated.
If it's not a lot of money in the bigger scheme of things, you and sister will probably get more peace and closure knowing all is taken care of to the best of your abilities. If it is clearly spelled out by your Dad and you and sister want to deduct monies owed from his amount, spell that out in a letter mailed along with his check amount. Keep a copy of the letter with your Dad's estate documents.
If your brother is in bad enough health to require group living, nursing home etc. in the future, you may be called upon again to deal with family financial issues. Limiting any negative encounters now may save you and sister more headaches and heartaches in the future. Your brother can't change so you decide if you should respond to any of his complaints or questions once you've got all monies distributed between the three of you.
As for the disbursement, We did an initial one about a year after Mom passed, but kept some aside to cover any taxes or unknown bills. Then the rest was distributed. No, you don't need to tell him what everyone else got, but you do need to let him know that the money he owed your dad was paid back out of his share. (I know he probably wont like it and wont feel it's fair, but you can counter that your Dad specifically wanted it that way.) Hope this helps you.
Dad's will says that executor gets more and you did all the work. Does it say how much you will get for your work? Also, is the amount sibling owed dad a substantial amount? You actually have both of these things documented in a will so if you intend to follow the will exactly, there is no reason all three of you would not get an exact copy of the distribution - using the very inventory you have dealt with. List all assets (cash, house, etc), money added to the assets by way of selling things - there's the total of estate. Then list executor amount along with any other debits to show cost of estate work and subtract from total estate. Everyone will easily see how much the distribution to each will be.
The only thing I would consider is the debt brother owed your dad. Could you consider extending the olive branch in regard to the debt? You already said he is not well mentally, etc. Why add any fuel to his personal fire? I wouldn't do it. If after all is said and done you/your sister no longer have a relationship with him, walk away knowing that you didn't add any more pain or anger to his already unhappy life. If Here's my thoughts on taking money out of his share:
Let's say everyone's share would be $10K each. He owes your dad $5K. So you deduct that amount from his share. He gets $5K and I would assume you and your sister would split what he owed dad - giving each of you $12,500 each. If you think about it, your brother didn't owe either of you any money. He owed dad. Did either of you suffer in any way by loans dad made to brother? Just record what his share would have been had you followed the will as option 1. Then do an option 2 dividing the estate equally to all three siblings and write a statement to explain that you/sister agreed to option 2 so that everyone got equal shares/loan forgiven. Walk away as peacemakers. That's what I would do.
Three kids can be raised together and come out totally different because of perception of how something in life touched them. It may be totally wrong, but at the time and age they were when it happened, each one can remember it differently. No one will ever really know where his pain, anger, and perception of things comes from - he could tell you and you would remember it entirely different. Let it go. Let him go, if you must, knowing that you were as fair (or more than fair) as you could possibly be.
So the estate, in your example, was $30k. You would add the 5k debt to that as an asset. (Pretend someone else owes the estate money for a minute!)
THEN divide by number of the siblings. Each would get 1/3 of the $35K estate but the brother would get 1/3 minus the $5k debt.
In the end, each sister would get $11,667. and the brother would get $6,667 ($11,667 minus the $5000.)
But I don't think I'd spell out every detail of the calculations to someone with mental health issues unless I was pressed or required to by law. Just behave honorably and keep good records. I don't think you need to justify your actions unless it's required, especially to someone who may not be able to understand.
When my paternal grandparents dies, their will specified the amounts each son would get. My dad got nothing since he had outstanding "loans" to them, They choose to forgive the debts as his share of the inheritance. So yes, take out the amount your sibling owes as part of distribution, Your sibling will not appreciate it, but he needs to learn about consequences of his actions and the other siblings should not have to bear his burdens.
As for how much the executor gets, does the will stipulate an amount or is it open-ended? Consider how much actual time -maybe keep a log - is devoted to finalizing the estate and pay yourself accordingly.
Also, you want to be sure all his debts are paid and that you leave a little bit in his checking account in case some late debts come in or he owes taxes. Again which is why talking to a CPA would be helpful. We decided to leave quite a bit and do a smaller second disbursement later to be sure we had enough money.
You do not have to spell out all the different amounts people received but you do need to tell them what they are getting and in your brother's case what he owes is placed back into the amount to be split between the remaining heirs. They should each have a copy of the will or trust and that will tell them what their portion of inheritance is.
Bravo for you getting near the end. It is a lot of work and yes you should get more for being the one to take on this task. My sister and I have already put in over 60 hours and expect about 10-20 more.
""...changed the deed on his home allowing me to sell with without going through probate." This may result in having to claim the value of the transfer in your taxes. Granted it's being sold and proceeds are being used to honor his wishes, but it's a question I'd run by the attorney. Some states don't require it, but the feds may have a different opinion. It can be considered gifting and there are limits/year."
The situation we had was a little different. Mom's condo had been set up as a Life Estate Trust. It would have been better for us financially if she were able to stay there until she passed, but due to dementia, that wasn't possible (we tried bringing in aides 1hr/day to be increased if/when needed, but less than 2 months later she refused to let them in.) Rather than having it sit unoccupied (cost without add'l repairs would be about 10k or more per year just for RE tax and condo fees, never mind utils!), it was better to sell it. We could have rented it, but I had enough to do without becoming a landlord!!
Financially, we would have gotten a step up in value had we been able to wait for her to pass, which would reduce cap gains to a minimum. We still would have had to pay cap gains, but likely a lot less! So, because we sold it while she is still alive (just hit 97!), the bulk of the proceeds were distributed to us (remaindermen.) We put all the funds back into the main trust, for her benefit, to cover her MC and other costs, but we had to claim it and pay cap gains on our share. We distributed funds from the trust to cover the cost of the gains. As an aside, the timing was PERFECT! Sales were up and we actually had a mini-bidding war, with the price paid being more than what we asked for (of course having to use the EC atty to process, it sucked most of that extra down, but still, it was best!) Given that she's now 4.5+ years in MC, that's a lot of money that would have been lost.
Although it is different, by "giving" you the deed to the house, it is likely considered gifting and you may have to claim that on Fed and possibly state taxes. I use an Enrolled Agent (associated with and has to stay up to date on IRS rules!) to do mom's taxes (mine too, only for the cap gains issue.) If the atty doesn't have an answer, a competent tax person should be able to assist you.
Same with filing your dad's last return(s). Mom had the blockheads do it when dad passed - they made mistakes, no idea if those were ever dealt with, as I didn't have anything to do with it. In taking over doing her taxes the next year, I used that to help file hers for the first time - there were special forms, etc that I wouldn't have known about. So, it might be wise to get tax help too. The idiots who did hers didn't suggest changing her withholding, so she ended up with about $6k liability the year I did it. I had her change the W4 and adjust it, to get her as close to 0 owed as possible. Sadly, although I kept asking her if she got all the necessary tax paperwork for the next year, so I could work on it, she went back to them and they made a HUGE mistake (left off the pension.) Instead of breaking even, or close to it, she got a 5k refund. This resulted in having to refile (made them do it) and having to pay a penalty. Not too long after I took over her finances and had all her bills sent to me.
Anyway, I would ask the atty or better a GOOD tax expert about whether the "gifting" of the house will impact your taxes, and if so, can the cost of the cap gains be deducted from the assets before/during initial distribution of the funds, or later, from the amount you hold back, to cover any additional payments that need to be made.
It's great your dad was wise enough to do this. So many don't and make this whole process a nightmare!
I'd have at least one meeting with an atty, to cover your questions.
"...changed the deed on his home allowing me to sell with without going through probate." This may result in having to claim the value of the transfer in your taxes. Granted it's being sold and proceeds are being used to honor his wishes, but it's a question I'd run by the attorney. Some states don't require it, but the feds may have a different opinion. It can be considered gifting and there are limits/year.
I hear you on the sibling. I have severed ties with OB, but it has nothing to do with inheritance. YB will likely be ignored after mom passes. He isn't as bad but still is a PITA! IF either gives me grief when we get to where you are, they'll get both barrels! YB and I are POA and executors, but he does very little and complains about the one thing I ask of him (taking mom to an appt 4x/yr - I can't support her wt and she won't walk/stand w/out assistance.) I think about 95%+ of the work needed to get paperwork done, find a place for her, get the condo ready for sale, and managing EVERYTHING for her all this time (over 4.5 yr in MC and years prior to that) with the only help from them being a few trips to help with condo (took 1.75+ years of MY time and effort!), they better take what they get and shut up. NO contact with OB in over 2 yrs and only contact YB when appts are due. They say/ask nothing about what I do (all 3 are trustees, but I manage everything for her.) Time to ask is NOW!
"My other sibling and I have some decisions to make on what our relationships with him will look like going forward."
THIS should be separate from any dealing with the will/inheritance. I'd table it until the dust settles.
"So, I’ve heard varying figures on how long to wait before disbursing money when all is settled, six months?"
This is a question for the atty. Once all funds are distributed, if anything comes up, you might have to pay from what you get. Not likely brother will pay anything back and sister might be reluctant too. IF the atty can give you a time frame and $ amount, you'd be able to split the rest later per your dad's instructions. Def deduct the IOU from first pymt!
"Do I need to file my dad’s taxes next year?" Again, best to ask the atty, but my guess would be yes - final reckoning, since he have had income this year. Even if he doesn't owe taxes, it might be best to file, just to CYA!
"When I divide what’s left do I have to show siblings what each of us is getting or only what they individually are getting?"
My understanding is anyone who's a beneficiary is entitled to a copy of the will. It would show your dad's wishes. However, for specific $ amount each of you gets, including your executor fee, it is NO ONE ELSE'S business. I had to take over for an exec who passed before it was finalized (what a nightmare!) In the will, the $ amts were specific for some beneficiaries, w/ the remainder split between her sister and nephew. There's no way until it's finalized to know what the split amount would be, so... He can contest it. If he pulls that, the court might require reckoning, but cross that bridge if you come to it. If you give a copy to each, he WILL see that he'll be docked for what he owed. It would be hard to contest that, unless there are questions about the amt. If dad specified the dollar amount owed, go with that. Beyond that, none of you needs to know what the other is getting.
"Pretty sure that’s not going to go down well and not looking forward to him being able to compare our amounts." Again, don't provide $ amounts to him, so he can't "compare", but it's a reason to have an atty (paid by assets before splitting final proceeds.) If bro complains, have the atty deal w/ him, even if it takes funds from the final split. Less stress on you! When all is done, split the remainder and wipe the dust off your feet!!
I would be sure that you show dad's wishes to each in writing and make it clear that you are not responsible for the choices, just carrying out orders.
I never recommend having a relationship with anyone that is a trouble hunter. The consequences are never worth it and you are not responsible for his life. I love my brother from afar, because he tries to destroy my peace of mind and wellbeing and I refuse to deal with his hate and drama. It only gets worse if he feels like he is in control of the contact. Protect yourself from him and do whatever you need to do to keep your peace and wellbeing.
Executors are entitled to a % whether written in the will or not. Here in NJ I think its 4% up to a certain amount. As the estate gets bigger, the Executor gets less. Make sure u take it otherwise it goes into the estate and gets split. If in Dads Will it says that the loan gets deducted from brothers share, then it gets deducted. If it doesn't, then not sure if u can deduct the amount. This is why hiring a lawyer may be a smart thing to do. You have done all the hard work so the cost of doing an accting and closing probate shouldn't be much. And having a sibling like you do, it may be in your best interest. He may not contest with a lawyer involved. Then you know everything is on the up and up. If brother contests the Will, then you can say the accounting was done by a lawyer. But by contesting he will need a lawyer and that is an expense he may not want. I found everything went so much easier with a lawyer. And I didn't have to do the final paperwork.
Taxes...this I didn't have to do because Mom hadn't paid taxes in years because basically she only got SS and a very small pension. SS is not taxable if your income stays under a certain amount. So, doing Dads taxes will depend on any outside income other than SS he gets. That is a question for his tax preparer.
Relationship with Bad brother may never be a good one. Sounds to me he may be self-centered, maybe a Narcissist or have some kind of personality disorder. If so, you will never be able to have a relationship with him. People like this never think they are wrong. So better when everything is said and done, back away from him. Do not allow him to intimidate, bully or abuse you in any way. Don't answer calls from him, block him. Don't answer the door. Have no contact. If you allow his abuse it will only cause health problems. Don't be there for him in any way. He will only use you and it will be hard to escape.
This is essentially like different tax brackets (namely, a certain percentage up to a certain amount, a different percentage for an additional amount of taxable income, and then another for the next, etc.) EXCEPT that the percentages to be paid as executor/executrix fees get lower as the estate increases.
Answering questions about this all is something even the CPA and Lawyer and BANKER won't do. They keep saying, "ask the banker" and "ask the lawyer" and "ask the cpa".
A Trust isn't filed, so you need not disclose (I am told) as to who gets what. A will is filed for probate, or just filed, and it is a public document. However there are letters, as executor, that you have to file to EACH beneficiary, notifying them that they are a beneficiary.
How long it takes to settle an estate depends on how large it is and how much is involved. You DO NEED AN EIN number. Because yes, you are responsible for filing taxes in the coming year. You may be ("ASK THE CPA" comes in here) filing two tax forms, one your father's taxes for the portion of the year he lived, and one the taxes on the "estate" after he passes.
So get thee to a CPA, a Lawyer, and find out what letters and notifications you must file. It is not on you to EXPLAIN anything to your brother. Simply tell him that you "assume" you get a bit more due to all the work, lawyer visits, real estate sales, and etc you have to do, but you don't really KNOW, and Dad isn't here to ask. After that statement, other than the letter you send him as a beneficiary, there is nothing to say but "I don't really know. Sorry."
This will get done. Keeping one account for not a lot, open for the coming year isn't a problem (I am told here in California) and won't create a new tax year. The will will stipulate legally when you can begin to disperse money. You will want to be certain that there are not more bills come. That is the questions for your LAWYER, hee hee. Once more bills show up and the money is all dispersed it must be got back from beneficiaries to pay bills, something you do not want.
Long story short (I always go WAY too long, anyone can tell you) is that this isn't for amateurs and in an estate of any size at all you do need the advice of a trust and estate lawyer, and of a CPA. Make certain this lawyer works on dispersing an estate. Some only work on writing wills and Trusts for the living.
I only needed one and one half hours of a lawyer. Best time I ever spent money on. (or my poor brother did).
Good luck. Not easy and not fun. Especially when there are any family members who want to cause any trouble.