One of the things that brings people to a lawyer is disagreements over Mama’s Last Will and Testament. One sibling looks at the division of assets that Mama made in her Will, and SEES RED!!! The first thing that occurs to the disgruntled child is “why in the world would Mama put that in her Will, when she knew that I wanted the farm?” The next thing that occurs to the disgruntled child is “Mama would never do that—so this Will must not be valid!”
Being the executor of an estate is oftentimes an arduous and time-consuming endeavor. Generally, executors receive compensation for their work in addition to repayment for their personal contributions to costs relating to estate administration. What, however, can be deducted and reimbursed from the estate is up for debate. Obviously, taxes, postage, copies, probate fees, etc. are paid from the estate – and if the executor pays for these expenses out of their own funds, they would be reimbursed. But how are expenses paid out before the one’s death, by a future executor, treated when it is time to handle the estate? As always, it depends.
If a beneficiary finds that assets were transferred away from an estate, he or she will usually seek to recover the assets. Often, these sums are recovered and distributed to the intended beneficiaries. Sometimes though, the assets are found to have been the product of a legitimate transfer. And other times, like in the following case, a procedural error can cost the beneficiary their potential win.