Q: I live in Pittsburgh and was my dad’s primary caregiver for past 2 years. My sister, who lives across the country, and I are named co-executors and equal 50/50 beneficiaries of the estate. I am anxious to get probate started, will filed and wrapped up as quickly as possible so my wife and I can move on with our life. Two years of caregiving and working full time have me and my wife exhausted. There are No debts or creditors. Cut and dry, but my sister, who has been estranged from our dad for 10 years, is preventing probate from getting started because she doesn’t like the attorney I consulted with (who was very good but did advise us if we wanted the process to go faster and cheaper, because she is out of state she could renounce executorship. Well my sister had a fit and got highly offended refusing to allow us to use that attorney. The two other attorneys I contacted suggested the same. Sister is also disagreeable to how I remove trash that she and I bagged up together from our dad’s home. And she opposed the amount flowers cost at the funeral. I am starting to resent her attitude and how controlling she is trying to be–for no reason as we are both equal heirs.
A: It is more efficient to have a local executor. Your sister doesn’t need to renounce her right to serve as Co-Executor, just because she lives out of town. The attorney may charge more if he must send her copies of everything and get her signatures by mail, but if she understands that, it should not be a problem. If she doesn’t like your attorney, you and she can pick a few local ones, then pull names from a hat. If she is totally disagreeable and continues this course of conduct, you can petition to remove her as Executor through your attorney.