Brooklyn, NY asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania

Q: My son is 100% beneficiary for an account he was left...

My son is 100% beneficiary for an account he was left...myself and my sister Are co-executors of the will (50-50) my sister is trying to get part of the account that my son is 100% beneficiary even though it’s in the will that her and I are co-executors does she have legal rights to the account my son is beneficiary of!’?

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2 Lawyer Answers
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Boyertown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: Assuming the will has been admitted to probate, its provisions about the disposition of assets is controlling. If the will has not yet been submitted to the probate court, you should do so without further delay.

Where there are co-executors, one cannot take action without the agreement of the other. Where there is a dispute, the matter must be submitted to the probate court to resolve.

If you do not have an attorney advising you as executor, you should consult one without delay.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Wormleysburg, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: First of all, if the Will lists you and your sister as co-executors your sister has no right to take any action on her own. It sounds like you may not have probated the Will yet, and if that is the case your sister has no right to do anything at this time. It this is how the probate is beginning you both need to meet with an experienced estates attorney to make it clear you have to act together and to review the assets and liabilities of the estate with both of you so you both know what is in the estate and what is not. Second, in general, if the account lists your son as beneficiary, the account will be paid directly to your son by the institution where the account is held. Accounts with beneficiaries are generally not subject to probate nor to the terms of the Will. The attorney which you and your sister hire to assist you with the probate should be making it clear to your sister that she cannot act alone and she should not be interfering with processing on non-probate assets.

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