Why would someone need to sign a paper saying that they will not seek anything further from the estate? Shouldn’t that be written in the will?

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Why would someone need to sign a paper saying that they will not seek anything further from the estate? Shouldn’t that be written in the will?

I received some money from my grandmother in
her will. Then a month after I signed for that
the executor wanted me to sign another paper
saying I wouldn’t seek anything else from the
estate. I haven’t seen the will.

Thank you

Asked on October 17, 2019 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Typically, you sign a paper like that in a variety of contexts (e.g. wills; lawsuits) in exchange for payment, to settle a claim or case. That is, you would agree to accept what is offered you as payment in full and not seek more; in return, to get the offered amount. But you already received money, so you are not being offered anything to sign this; therefore, there is no reason to sign it. The excutor may be trying to hide that he or she has done something wrong--i.e. taken money from the estate, wasted or lost estate money, or given someone else money or other assets which should have gone to you--by preventing you from seeking additional funds. While you don't need to take legal action (e.g. file an action "for an accounting" as a beneficiary in order to see the will and force the executor to justify or account for what he/she has done) unless you think its worthwhile (i.e. unless you think you probably were entitled to enough other money/assets as to make a lawsuit worthwhile), you have the right to do so, if you choose--so long as you don't give up that right, such as by signing the paper described. Don't sign it: keep your options open until you decide whether you are suspicious enough of whether you received the correct amount as to bring a legal action against the estate and exectuor or not.


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