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Does an executor need to disclose how money is being spent?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My mother had a stroke, but is very cognitive and alert , she is in rehab. My brother has taken over as executor to pay bills. As one of 8 siblings I have asked several times how the bills are being paid. I have asked for detail info since I knew exactly what was in her accounts. I have been told that I do not need to know, or how the money is being spent. Is this correct? Don’t we have the right to know how bills are being paid , what is in the accounts. I was having my mother sign her own checks which is capable of doing and now I have no idea if that is even happening since he asked for the checkbook. My are my rights as one of 8 children.

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Your brother cannot be functioning as an executor because your mother is still alive. The executor (or personal representative) has no authority until after her death. It is your mother’s decision on who among her children should help her until such time as she is incompetent and you state that at this time she is cognitive and alert. You may take your concerns to her. If she wishes to make a change, she can. She should execute a durable power of attorney (for financial) and a health care proxy (for medical) and pick which child is to act in what capacity. Until a durable power of attorney has been executed, no one child has the authority to make those decisions for your mother. If your mother has another stroke which incapacitates her and she has not executed those documents, the family will have to go to court to petition for a guardianship and a conservatorship. If your mother requests the information from your brother and he refuses to comply, you may have to get elder services involved if you suspect abuse.

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Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

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The elder law attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

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