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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    16

    Default Why Does an Estate With One Beneficiary Have to Go Through Probate

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: pennsylvania.

    my mother died without a will. my sisters and i appointed my one sister administrator(or whatever you call it) of the estate. my mother left me some money as the sole beneficiary. the administrator (sister) found this out somehow and made me go down to the bank, withdraw the money ($6k), and put into the estate. i have since found out that it doesnt go through the estate. that that money should have gone directly to me. i believe my sister was trying to defraud me of my money.

    i viisted my moms estate attorney and told her that i was forced to put my money into the estate and i wanted to know why. i also wanted a check made payable to me by the end of the next week. lawyer said 'well i was under the impression that you volunteered to put that money in.' i said 'certainly not. why should i fund the estate when i'm on disability and my two older sisters make well over $150k' . she said 'well i dont think there IS $6k in the estate to give you a check.'


    my questions are:
    1) can i take legal action against the administrator? for abusing her power as administrator to force me to fund my mothers estate with my own money?? and
    2) am i right in demanding a check asap from teh estate? what if the estate already spent my 6k? can i force my sister to give it to me out of her own pocket??

    thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    1,995

    Default Re: Why Does an Estate With One Beneficiary Have to Go Through Probate

    If your mom dies without a wil, then anything SOLELY in her name belongs to the estate, regardless of what she said about "leaving you the money".

    On the other hand, if it is a joint account, AND if the accounts mentions anything about survivorship, then it can go to you without going through the estate.

    I don't know how much money your mom has besides this bank account that you are talking about, but estates got bills, often it could be funeral, legal, medical, outstanding debts (credit card) etc. that has to be legally paid FIRST. If this is the case, if any creditor found that you got the $6,000, skipped out on the bills, and the administrator said "my sister kept hollering the money is hers, so I gave it to her instead", and if this happened, the administrator would be sued, and she'll have to sue you to get the money back to pay the bills.

    My dad had lots of illiterate relatives who spoke no English he use to handle estates for, and they never understood why a dead person has bills, and always thought if anything is paid for a dead person, it must be a scam. They always thought if a dead person owes say a credit card bill, the credit card company gets to eat it. NO NO. Nowadays the credit card companies got wise to this, and offer insurance.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Why Does an Estate With One Beneficiary Have to Go Through Probate

    If you can go down to the bank and withdraw 6k from your mother's account,then your name must be on the account too!
    check out the survivorship clause like he suggested.
    But it may be too late since money is now in an estate account and the estate lawyer said there aint much left.
    Unless your mother has more assets you and your sister can find to be placed in that estate account.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,202

    Default Re: Why Does an Estate With One Beneficiary Have to Go Through Probate

    Why Does an Estate With One Beneficiary Have to Go Through Probate
    actually, there are at least 3 heirs (you and your two sisters). Since there wasn't a will, any money left that was part of the estate must be added to the estate. The remaining assets, after debts are paid, will be divided 3 ways (based on the 3 siblings).


    If the account was jointly held or was a POD or TOD (payment or transfer on death) account, then you would be the sole owner of the account. It has nothing to do with the estate though. It is simply a matter of function of a trust (which a POD or TOD is) or if a joint account, to the surviving owner of the account.

    so, explain why you would be the sole owner of the bank account.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Why Does an Estate With One Beneficiary Have to Go Through Probate

    (concur with jk)

    When you say you are the beneficiary, that implies to me that your mother's bank account was a payable-on-death account. Would that be correct? Then that account is not part of the estate.

    Payable-on-death designations for bank accounts

    In Pennsylvania, you can add a "payable-on-death" (POD) designation to bank accounts such as savings accounts or certificates of deposit. You still control all the money in the account -- your POD beneficiary has no rights to the money, and you can spend it all if you want. At your death, the beneficiary can claim the money directly from the bank, without probate court proceedings.
    from nolo.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Why Does an Estate With One Beneficiary Have to Go Through Probate

    it seems as if i need to explain a bit more. i wanted to keep this thread brief but now realize i must state more details.

    1) i did not come up with this thread title first of all. i'm not sure how it got there. i'm NOT asking if there is one sole heir , does it have to go through estate...i AM asking the following

    2) my mother had an ira savings at a bank. of which i was the sole beneficiary. my sister somehow found this out. she demanded that i get the money out and put it in the estate. so we had to open up an ira savings for me, transfer the money from moms to mine then withdraw it, close my account and put in estate account. my mom had several other accounts (401k, life insurance,...) of which all of my sisters and i were listed as beneficiaries. no one ELSE put any money in the estate account to fund the expenses but i was made to do that AND i belive my sister has no intention of giving me back that money. i was told by my cousin who is also a bank manager that that money should never have gone into that estate that it shoudl be mine. so again my question was 1) can i take legal action against my sister to get my money back?

    3) i did not mention this before but i will now. my sister is asking that we each put in $9k into the estate account for repairing the home, legal fees, taxes,....i am in agreement to do this but feel as if i should be able to deduct the 6k that she already has of mine. so i would like to send her a check for $2900 as i feel this is fair.

    4) my youngest sister is NOT in agreement to make the $16k repairs that everyone else wants to make? my question is how can this be resolved? we want repairs and she doesnt?

    please bare with me i'm on disability and sometimes i cant concentrate well and my thoughts are rambled. i'm doing the best i can.

    any help would be greatly appreciated.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    513

    Default Re: Why Does an Estate With One Beneficiary Have to Go Through Probate

    Write your sister the administrator a letter stating that the $6K was a loan to the estate and that you expect to be re-paid. When the estate is finally settled, if you are not re-paid, object to the settlement.

    (Good thing that it was only $6K since this is taxable income to you.)

    i did not mention this before but i will now. my sister is asking that we each put in $9k into the estate account for repairing the home, legal fees, taxes

    4) my youngest sister is NOT in agreement to make the $16k repairs that everyone else wants to make? my question is how can this be resolved? we want repairs and she doesnt?
    There isn't anything to resolve. Neither you nor your youngest sister is under any obligation to advance any funds to the estate.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,995

    Default Re: Why Does an Estate With One Beneficiary Have to Go Through Probate

    Quote Quoting dlsmeck
    View Post
    it seems as if i need to explain a bit more. i wanted to keep this thread brief but now realize i must state more details.

    any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Yes, this makes it a lot clearer.

    IRA's have named benficiary's, and if you are the SOLE named, then the money is yours, though you have to know the rules concerning inheriting it, and tax consequences, especially a hasty complete withdrawal. See:

    http://www.smartmoney.com/taxes/inco...rys-ira-11874/

    And with your complete narrative, if each of you are asked to contribute, then the $6,000 you put in should be counted towards the money each is asked. If one of your sisters' object to the repairs, the objection should be addressed to the administrator, as it is he or she who is legally responsible how the estate is to be handled. And if you suffer negative tax consequences because of the HASTY withdrawal, you should be compensated as well

    Had a relative not longer ago who passed away, and heirs are stuggling through the same thing. Their dad had a home that would fetch a higher price if it was repaired, repairs some heirs objected to, since they want ALL the MONEY NOW. This is why some real estate investors like to buy properties in probate because no one wants to spend anything on it, and would be worth lot more if fixed. It's ashame, but your case illustrates why.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Why Does an Estate With One Beneficiary Have to Go Through Probate

    everyone, thanks so much for the replies! it is a big help!

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