Q: Don't agree w/ proposed property distribution of dead parent. What happens if don’t sign Receipt 4 Personal Property?
Estate attorney is pressuring me to sign. Other beneficiary (also the Executor) likes the proposed distribution, so I’m the holdout. Jurisdiction is Fairfax, VA.
A: Is there a specific issue? Have they responded to it? Is it what the will (or law) provides?
If you don't sign, then (1) you'll have to hire a lawyer to represent you when (2) the executor files in court to have the judge declare exactly what is to be paid to you. Your expenses: your lawyer fee. Your share of the Estate's legal fees to ask the judge to confirm the proposed distribution (AND if the judge thinks you are being unreasonable you could be hit with ALL the legal fees for that action). And don't forget, Fairfax has a reputation for the highest lawyer billing rate in Virginia.
Bottom line: You are entitled to object, but make sure of what the law is as it applies to the estate and that you have a reasonable likelihood of a better distribution, and that after a year or so of litigation. For the lawyer you hire it's only another case; for you it's the ONLY case you have in court and it will eat at you the whole time. Make sure it's worth it to object.
A: I agree with my learned colleague, Mr. Hart, but I think the slant he puts on it is a bit harsh. If you believe the distribution is unfair, why don't you start by buying a consult with a lawyer to review the Will, the Inventory, and the Proposed Distribution. Get an independent view on whether the distribution is unfair and a reading on how much discretion is given to the Executor by the Will. Find out if the challenge is worth it.
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