Q: What can a lawyer do?
My sister-in-law is executor of mother's will. She has not paid inheritance taxes since mother’s death in 02/2017. She will not even have conversation about will. I have been told that my wife, who is sister and co beneficiary in mother’s will, should get a lawyer to help with this issue. What can a lawyer do if sister-in-law will not cooperate and even provide SS number or give estate info concerning assists? And why should my wife pay for lawyer for something that sister-in-law has fiduciary responsibility to do? I guess if we do contact a lawyer we discuss fees concerning this issue at that point in time.
A: First of all are you sure there is a Will? If your sister-in-law claims there is a Will, and that she is named Executor, and if she has done nothing to date your wife has some options, and she needs to meet with an experienced estate attorney to see what option is best. If you think there is a Will but it has not been probated and your wife has not seen the Will she can file a petition to compel the filing of the Will. If you have a copy of the Will, and your wife is named the alternate executor, or if there is no alternate and your wife is the only other sibling, she may be able to file a petition to probate the copy of the Will and ask that she be appointed the executor since her sister has failed to fulfill her fiduciary duties. And if you do not know if there is a Will then your wife can file a petition to be appointed an Administrator to open an intestacy administration. Any of these types of actions will force your sister-in-law to act, or will allow your wife to be appointed to open an estate and move forward.
Jackie Marie Howard agrees with this answer
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