How can I make sure my daughter receives her inheritance from her grandmother?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 27, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My minor daughter's grandmother recently passed away. The executor of her will is my exhusband, he is an only child, and he has no intention of fulfilling his mother's wishes by giving my daughter the money her grandmother left to her in the will. What can be done? I have full custody of my teenage daughter...she has just turned 17 and is fully aware of the situation and has asked for my help. We do have a copy of the will.

Expert Answers

Judy and Fred co-mediate family property and financial conflicts, and each work individually as mediators as well. Judy Barber, a mediator and family business consultant, assists clients in resolving overlapping family and money conflicts so they are better able to make sound estate planning decisions. Frederick Hertz is an attorney and mediator who specializes in resolving co-ownership matters involving families, siblings, spouses, cohabitants and domestic partners.

In every state there is a procedure by which an heir can petition the probate court to enforce the terms of a will, if the executor is not doing what they are supposed to do. You should retain a local probate attorney to help you with this process - that is, if you feel that nothing short of court intervention will work. Oftentimes a stern letter from the lawyer will be sufficient to motivate the executor to do the right thing, so we always recommend you try that approach before any formal legal action is commenced. And of course, as with any sort of dispute within a family -- even with an ex-husband - you always want to consider trying the olive branch first. It wouldn't hurt for you to write a letter to your ex, calmly stating why you don't think what he is doing is right, and imploring him to do the right thing. Even if doing this doesn't produce the results you want, it will establish for you (and for him) why you needed to pursue the legal remedies.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

The calm olive branch approach has only given him the chance to tell me the money his mother left for my daughter isn't there ( that there just wasn't any money). Yet in the meantime he has sold one of his mother's cars, received two insurance checks, sold all of her belongings/furniture etc. at yard sales and has refurnished the house with all new items for himself. I was told at the local County Fiduciary office that he is supposed to disclose all assets but that doesn't mean he will. So I can't prove what was there and what wasn't.