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The Moneyist: "My brother was my greatest pal": He moved into my late father's home, modified the locks and blew his cash by. Ought to I carry prison costs?

I am one of four children and my father died calling my brother the executor.

My father died with no debt and a mortgage-free home in the best neighborhood. He had worked for the same company for over 45 years with a pension and savings all his life.

My brother and his wife moved into my father's house even though they own their own house. They changed the locks and hired an alarm company so that no one could enter the property. They also refused to give anyone a copy of the will until they presented it to the court, they alleged.

They began to blow my father's money through (using his accounts, credit cards in only the father's name) and refused to present and carry out the executioner's duties. My brother and his wife were in serious financial debt before my father died. When I confronted my brother, he blocked me on social media and has since refused to speak to me.

The money is:"A man's cave on wheels": My husband's motor home is his pride and joy – but he owes $ 75,000 for it. If he dies, am I liable?

My brother was my best friend. His actions destroyed me to the core. During all of these events, he and his wife divorced. She initiated a divorce when money was running out. She filed for bankruptcy while still traveling and making exotic trips which she posted on Facebook.

During this time, I sent my brother money to help with the divorce costs and asked him to appear at their bankruptcy trial and acknowledge that they had committed fraud. He still refused to speak to me.

I am so hurt from this whole situation. My father, a hard-working Vietnam vet, lies in an unmarked grave, which is ridiculous because he had a sizable amount of money, including funds from my grandfather's $ 25,000 insurance policy.

I feel betrayed and used. I don't even have a picture of my parents. I need to shut down and I want to file criminal charges against my brother and former sister-in-law through the Attorney General.

I've spoken to several lawyers in this little town and they all say, "Let go of it, your brother is a good guy." In the meantime, I shall suffer in silence with no relief. I've tried and I can't. I wake up crying every day.

I have no relationship with my sisters. A sister stole my identity in the past, which worried me a lot and ruined me financially. My brother knew this, so his actions hurt even more.

Ready to act

Dear readiness to act,

It seems that you want justice for your father and peace of mind for yourself. These two things can be mutually exclusive. You can have one without the other. If you fail to prosecute your brother for violating his fiduciary duty as an executor, it does not mean you cannot continue.

Not everyone is ready or able to take responsibility for what they do, and that's fine. Your greatest responsibility is yours. Whatever happens to your father's house and what's left of his estate and whatever becomes of your brother, you want to be free. That is your ultimate goal.

There is a statute of limitations on wills, and the clock usually starts ticking after the will is filed in the probate court. Of course, we don't know for sure if your father's will has been filed with the probate court, and if there was no will, his estate would still have to go through probate proceedings.

The statute also varies from state to state. According to Albertson & Davidson, a law firm in El Segundo, California, there are different time limits for trusts and wills that cover different claims, and these statutes may change depending on the circumstances.

"You have to challenge a will before it can be reviewed," the law firm explains. “If a will is approved for review, you have 120 days to request the court to revoke the review. After this period, the will can no longer be challenged. “It is not clear whether your father's will was filed.

“An inheritance is a judicial process in which the court first determines whether a will is valid and then appoints an executor to administer the will in a court-supervised process. When a court makes an order validating the will, we call it "admitting the will," the company adds.

The money is: My father left me money for a house – and my husband put his name on the deed. How do I make sure our children are doing well?

In your case, there may be good news: “If you want to sue a trustee for breach of trust, you have three years to do so from the date you knew or should have known the facts that led to the breach to do. "According to Albertson & Davidson.

However, if you never get an accounting or a report then there is no law on fraud. "If you did not know what the trustee did and the trustee never presented you with an accounting record or a written report of his actions, your term of action will remain open indefinitely," it says.

"Of course, you shouldn't wait forever to take action against your trustee," says the law firm. "At some point it will be difficult, if not impossible, to hold your trustee responsible for damage if you don't take action." You need to find a reputable law firm in your city or state.

As I said before, the deadline for action varies from state to state, but this gives you an idea of ​​what you are facing. Otherwise, you may want to make peace with the fact that your brother cannot be the brother you want, nor can he be the son your father thought he was.

In the meantime, the Department of Veteran Affairs will provide a headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of a deceased eligible veteran in cemeteries around the world at no charge. You can say goodbye to your father and thank him for the life he gave you.

But your happiness cannot and should not depend on the outcome of this case or on the resolution of your broken relationship with your brother. Your father gave you the tools in your lifetime to seek the kind of life you desire, regardless of the misdeeds of others.

This is the most important goal that you must pursue.

You can email The Moneyist at qfottrell@marketwatch.com with financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus. Would you like to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns Here

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