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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Get along with your co-executor or it will cost you

Attention co-executors who are squabbling and fighting with each other. You know who you are.  You are probably siblings. Somebody made the ill-fated decision to ask you two to get along in the best interests of their estate, and it has fallen apart. One of you makes decisions about the estate without the other. One takes the other to court repeatedly on the slightest excuse, asking the court to remove the other, with accusations of lies and duplicity. One executor is bullying the other.

Well, you'd better figure out how to act like adults and get along.

In a new case from Alberta, the court slapped the bullying co-executor with big court costs. The court made it clear that co-executors have an obligation to try to resolve their differences amicably without resorting to the courts if at all possible. The estate suffers when co-executors behave badly and make the estate administration all about their personal issues. The court's message is to get along, or it will cost you. To read more about this case in a story from lawyer Chris Staples, click here.


  1. I fear my situation may come to something like this. My brother and I are co-executors of our mother's estate (no surviving spouse). The house MUST be sold to pay off debts, but my brother is insisting he must go through everything in it first (he lives there and they were both hoarders). But he hasn't even started yet (7 months after she died). I don't know what to do. There won't be that much left after the debts to squander on court costs to force the issue, and house prices are falling quickly in this market. Plus it's a teardown, so waiting unti lthe fall (end of executor's year) will place us in a bad time to sell. Please...any suggestions???

  2. My situation with my brother has come to a head. For the past year he has lied to me about why I am never involved in decisions as a co-executor when dealing with the lawyer. I have just found out that 'He' hired the lawyer so I do not have the same rights as him. He has hidden all costs and information from me and when I have questioned him about it, he looks away and says he doesn't know. I am devastated at this but even worse are the legal fees of nearly $80,000! My husband passed away just before my my and I handled his estate by myself but my brother refused to allow me to do my mom's. I am not in a position to hire my own lawyer so I'm asking if you can give me some direction in this. I looked after my mom for many years and never asked for anything for doing it and now I am the one being destroyed.


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