How to distribute an estate?

My father died last month. He had a Will and a living Trust. In both documents he left his assets equally to my 4 sisters and myself. I am the executor of his estate. He only has 70K left in the bank and no other assets. After all of his obligations have been paid, can I take what is left and divide it equally between my sisters and myself or do I have to have a lawyer get involved in liquidating his estate?

Asked on January 7, 2013 under Estate Planning, Michigan


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Do you have access to the bank account without opening an estate?  You would have that access if the account were in the name of the trust, or if the bank account listed the trust as a beneficiary.  If you have access to the bank account as Trustee, then you can gather the funds, pay the debts, and distribute the money without court or lawyer involvement.  If everyone agrees, then there will never be a problem.  If one of the siblings disagrees with your actions, or your father may have more creditors than you know about, you should get a lawyer to advise you.

Good luck.  I am sorry for your loss.


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