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Family contests the costs of estate administration

In 2007, a man and his wife died when their private plane went down near the runway at a Massachusetts airport. Since that time, the administration of their estates has been fraught with controversy, including a claim that their wills were forgeries. Now, the couple's heirs are contesting the costs of estate administration, which reach into the millions of dollars.

Reports indicate that, over the years, somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.3 million in various payments and fees have been taken from the estates. Moreover, records of real estate transactions indicate losses of around $1.9 million. The niece and four nephews who will inherit the remainder of the estates would like the court to order the administrators of the estates to produce documentation regarding all of the money that has gone out of the estates. 

When the Dec. 2014 accounting of the estates was filed, the heirs had questions regarding the expenditures. They requested documentation from the executors, but those requests were reportedly ignored or dismissed. For instance, detailed records regarding legal/administration fees in the amount of $716,940 for the husband's estate and $378,373 for the wife's estate are being requested. Once reviewed, any fees or costs not substantiated may be ordered to be repaid to the estates by the court.

When it comes to Massachusetts estate administration, executors need to be as transparent as possible. In most cases, the monies removed from an estate are necessary. However, without documentation to back up each payment, heirs and beneficiaries could be left wondering. This is because, in a handful of cases, the person in charge of administering an estate is either managing the assets poorly or, in extreme cases, stealing, and heirs have the right to challenge the acts of the executor.

Source: mcall.com, "Karoly heirs object to costs for managing estates", Peter Hall, Feb. 20, 2015

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