August 23, 2010 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: Brother asked for high estate-handling fee

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar
 

Dear Annie: My father passed away last year at the age of 90. My brother was named executor, and when all the paperwork was mailed, everyone was satisfied.

However, the day after the paperwork was filed, my brother called and asked for what I thought was a large sum of money for handling the estate. From the beginning, my brother insisted he didn’t want to be paid for doing this, so to express my gratitude, I was extremely generous with gifts for his three children.

Now he says he and his wife need the money to refinance their condo in Florida. I sent a check, as I didn’t want to start a fight with the only brother I have.

While I don’t regret giving his children the money, a friend told me she thought he misunderstood and assumed I was giving the inheritance money away. Am I wrong to be upset about this? I have no idea how much time and effort was spent on his part, but I certainly don’t feel responsible for his condo. – California

Dear California: This is something that should have been firmly settled when your brother took on the responsibility of handling the estate – a thankless job that deserves some type of reward. Of course, he should have kept his end of the deal or at least discussed it with you. You’ve sent him the check, and there’s nothing you can do about the gifts you already sent his children, but feel free to scale back in the future. And try not to hold a grudge.


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