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West Virginia: no one will step up as Executor

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  • West Virginia: no one will step up as Executor

    A friend and neighbor of ten years was killed in a auto accident while returning home from visiting family. He regularly communicated to us his desires to have his sister handle his affairs upon his death, which sister does acknowledge. Most likely no will was ever prepared but we were made aware of his wishes on numerous occasions. Sister lives out of state and, so far, seemingly refuses to take responsibility for carrying out his wishes (died less than 2 months ago) but is more than willing to allow someone else to do the executor duties so that house/property can be sold. Our friend told us he believed he had possibly fathered two children over the last 30 years - unknown location on one, possible location on the other. If his sister does nothing, how can we, as his friends, assure his estate is handled properly? Furthermore, how would paternity be handled for children being located and confirmed as 'his'. The sister indicates she doesn't want anything from the estate and would gladly allow the children to receive inheritance yet refuses to lift a finger. We live in a rural location where theft of a deceased person's property is not only common but not a priority for law enforcement either. Can anyone step forward to accept responsibility for executor duties and are there time limits?

  • #2
    An executor is named by the deceased in his/her will. If there is no will, then the court appoints someone to be the administrator of the estate. If there is no will, then state law specificies who inherits under intestacy. There's a description of WV intestate succession here:

    http://www.mystatewill.com/statutes/wv_law.htm

    Anyone can go to court and ask to be appointed as the administrator of the estate -- there are cases where creditors step forward in order to ensure that they are paid. The court may require the administrator to post a bond to serve, but the fee for the bond can be reimbursed by the estate.

    With regard to the children, whether they would inherit is dependent on whether they had a legal relationship to their father (i.e., was he on their birth certificates).

    If you are willing to accept the role of administrator, I'd suggest that you speak with a local attorney. Attorney fees are also reimbursable by the estate.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the information. I will read the information from the link you provided. While I don't mind handling executor duties, it baffles me as to why a sibling would refuse such a thing. This whole event has caused my spouse and I to double check details in our own affairs and make some changes to accomodate the possibility of an appointed Executor(rix) refusing to serve. So sad...

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      • #4
        Some people just don't want the bother and/or responsibility of being
        executor of the estate.

        If you are willing to help out & be executor, talk to an attorney as suggested
        particularly since there may be children of the deceased involved.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by mycatmat View Post
          it baffles me as to why a sibling would refuse such a thing.
          I was the executor for my father a while back, and it was a lot of work. Several hundred hours worth in total, plus some thousands of dollars of specialized attorney and accountant fees. This was with a will and a trust. My father spent a lot of time and effort trying to line up all of his ducks. The ducks did not stay lined up. While I was in the same state, it was a 3 hour drive (each way) to the town he lived in and it took a bunch of trips to resolve things. If I was out of state, had family or work issues, or health problems, such a burden could have been intolerable. Not everyone can put their life on hold indefinitely to handle such matters. Not everyone can afford to get fired in this economy for taking off a bunch of time from work.

          Even if you have a will/trust, there are still a huge number of steps that have to taken care off. I was still dealing with related fallout a full year later. Dying without a will/trust makes things vastly more complicated.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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          • #6
            Sometimes being an executor can take a lot of time & sometimes not so much
            depending on whether there was a will or not, the size of the estate, number of
            creditors & other various "situations."

            Some people hire a lawyer to help out depending on how involved probate is.
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you for all the suggestions and information.

              Comment


              • #8
                You're very welcome.
                Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                Comment

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