Estate Settlement --- arg...and Not the Cool Pirate Kind. Need Perspective.

Updated on December 13, 2015
S.W. asks from Birmingham, MI
10 answers

Hello Ladies and Gents,

My DH's father passed away in October. He was a physician in private practice as a specialist having his own office for 30+ years. While his estate is not Vanderbilt level, it is somewhat significant. He left the woman who was his office/practice manager as the executor. She's held this role since he began the practice and she has been with him throughout, he passed away prior to his retirement.

My FIL left a very specific and detailed will and testament and she was named as executor since the estate is being managed through his business rather than through his individuality. My BIL contacted her asking for an early payout of a portion of what he believes will be his portion of the finalized estate. He did this without contacting my husband and she didn't reach out to him either. This is a significant amount of money and because they are co-trustees, my husband will be receiving the same early payout as his brother. Receiving this money at this time, and in this manner, has significant tax and other financial implications, some of them very negative, for my family.

Aside from the fact that my BIL's doing this verifies to me that he's been relying on my FIL's financial support for quite some time, I am, how do I characterize this, extremely angry that he did this unilaterally and without any notification of my DH. I am not saying that he needs permission from us. He's a grown adult and has financial concerns of his own that are none of our business. Having said that, we also have financial concerns that are unknown to him and are also none of his business. The fact that he did that without even the remotes concern of those consequences on us is driving my response. My DH and I are communicating quite well on this topic and I expect that to continue.

What's my question you ask?? How do I set my feelings aside on this and take a step back at what I feel is a complete injustice to my husband and my family and not make what has already been a bad situation worse for my husband. How do I go to that Namaste place on such, what is for me an emotionally intense situation, so that my DH can handle this with my support and not my ire and vitriol?

I want to wring BIL and SIL's neck, yes she is in his ear, but that won't solve for X and DH doesn't need anything more to manage at this time, especially the whirling dervish that I can become at times.

wow........didn't think this would go here but here I am. Trusted MP ladies....I welcome your input.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Hi Ladies and thanks to all for the insight and advice. Yes the executor agreed to this initial partial payment without consulting DH. Once again, the focus here is on consultation and not giving any sort of permission. Because they are co trustees if one gets a chunk the other one gets the same amount. We did consult with an attorney and with our accountant. The biggest financial impact will be on financing my DS's tuition costs, rather than any current tax concern. DH spoke with BIL over the weekend and they've smoothed things over.

I've always approached in-law situations by having him handle his people and I handle mine so I am going to take a deep, cleansing breath, a huge step back and let things unfold as they will. Forgive the pun, but currently, for me, the jury is out on the executor. The superordinate goal here should be my FIL's wishes being carried out to the letter/punctuation marks. I am hoping she shares this view.

Thanks again and happy holidays!!! :-) S.

More Answers



answers from Wichita Falls on

Death always makes small matters huge.

I know that this doesn't seem small, but take a step back and contemplate this: You FIL was under no obligation to leave you anything. You were blessed with his life, and blessed with him raising his son that you are now married to. Possibly, your children were blessed with a grandfather who loved them. And now you are blessed with his leaving you a piece of what he earned throughout his life. Instead of fuming over the inconvenience of an ill timed payout, put your energies where they belong, grieving a life lost and being grateful for what you receive.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Why should an early payout of your BIL's portion affect your taxes? Are you sure about this? Can't you just wait to receive your portion at a time that is convenient for you?

If there is no way for your BIL to take his portion without it affecting your taxes, then the obvious solution is for your husband to talk to his brother. "Brother, is there a way we can work this so that it's beneficial to us both? Because this is really going to affect our taxes negatively."

If your BIL refuses to discuss this and possibly compromise, then I guess you have to graciously let it go and be happy that you are getting what sounds like a sizable amount of money. I mean, you'll still be ahead, right?

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

well, he can ask all he wants, but if the executor says he has to wait for it all to be settled, then he's whistling in the wind, right?

do you know if she's planning on accommodating his request? if not, you are getting upset for naught.

it's really hard to set one's feelings aside in this sort of situation. when i was younger i always rolled my eyes at families who get ripped apart by estate issues, but after experiencing the emotional tsunamis (not even financially related at all) that followed a recent loss, now i think i get it.

i'm not sure why you'll be impacted negatively. surely the taxes owed will just come out of your portion, so you can't really be in a WORSE place, right?

i'd talk to both the executor and your tax attorney (or pay for a consultation if you don't have one) and get the facts. and then get thee to your own tried-and-true method of detaching.

super-hard when you're this knotted up, i do understand, hon. but you can't unknot until you have the facts, and once you have the facts, you can start, one by one, to unkink the knots.

you can't fix your BIL, but you can take care of your DH emotionally, and put the estate situation into a 'financial concerns' box and take the heat out of it.

not perfectly. not all the time.

but you can do it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I would suggest you immediately seek out tax advice from a professional who deals in estate planning. Perhaps there is a way these funds can be paid into some sort of a trust so that you can avoid some of the tax implications you might otherwise face. Maybe you've already done that, I don't know, but I would certainly look into that as a first step.

As for being a positive for your husband, that can be tough. Try not to think of this situation as something you have any control over (or them either, the in-laws I mean). Just view it as a set back you must weather together with your husband, and address it that way. Separate this from the people involved as much as you mentally can. There is no other way to do it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

If only this was happening to me! But let me try to offer advice...Can you do anything about the fact that your husband did not give permission and have it stopped? Sounds like you are FORCED to receive money NOW even if it's to your detriment? Is that true? If there is no way to control it, then you HAVE to let it go, and be grateful for what you have, even though it will be less than it should have been after taxes and such. There is no other choice. It's OK to be mad first though.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I have witnessed an ugly situation with inheritance and it turned me off to inheritance entirely. My feeling is that the fortunate thing was knowing the person. Anything that happens to come your way after the person's passing is nice, but isn't expected.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My suggestion for anything like this, no matter how well people get along, is to have legal counsel involved. That is the only way things can be wrapped up legally and fairly for everyone.

When the fighting occurs and it is sad when you see the true colors of some people... the lawyer and a mediator can be of great value.

I get that you are emotionally wrapped up in it and there is concern that your family won't be treated fairly. You have to step away from the emotions and let the legal counsel manage it with the executor.

As for tax implications and more, I would also seek out someone who specializes in taxes for times like this.

You made spend a few hundred dollars for legal and tax counsel but that money could certainly offset any tax implications if you have the right person representing you.

I am sorry you are going through this.

Best wishes.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I also think you should seek out legal advice.

There are so many loopholes, and no one (but you) has your interests first.

Unless you are well versed in these matters, I would get an attorney to protect your rights. It may cost a few hundred to a few thousand, but it may be money well spent if this is the type of communication that is going to occur in the future.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I'm guessing that the estate also has an attorney? Talk to them about referrals for advice on how you can mitigate tax implications. And if you are having a hard time dealing with the stress and emotions of dealing with the estate, it wouldn't hurt to ask the attorney for a referral to a family therapist. Even one visit to talk things through, with someone who has lots of experience working with this type of family stress, might help you with some coping skills. It is SO hard dealing with all the fall out of a death in the family, it is totally reasonable to ask for some outside help.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Well taxes are paid by the estate, not you, so I am not sure why you have your knickers in a twist in the first place.

No really folks, the taxes are paid 100% out of the estate! There is no choice in this matter. The exemptions, which I think is around 5 million this year goes to the estate, not all the people who inherit. There are no tax implication via inheritance to the people inheriting the money. I honestly believe it is greed that causes this disconnect but I am cynical like that. I have seen too many people really not care about anything but getting their piece of someone else's money to look at the math. :(

2 moms found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions