An ongoing murder case in one state may have caused many in Maryland, and across the U.S., to take a look at their estate plans and who they have listed as executors on their estate. A man was murdered in 2010 by his wife's boss, who has been convicted of the murder. In an unusual twist, the man's wife has been implicated as a conspirator in the murder. This complicates the estate administration process because the executor on the man's estate is his brother, and the man's wife is the primary beneficiary.
Though not yet found to have been involved in the murder, the woman at the center of this case has faced a great deal of scrutiny, including from her late husband's brother. Since he has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her, his level of bias is now being questioned, as is his ability to perform his duty of law in executing the estate. The backup executor on the estate is the woman's father-in-law, whose bias is also being questioned.
The brother and father of the man who was murdered states that their family has a right to know whether or not his wife, the beneficiary of his estate, contributed to the murder. The other side of the argument states that her alleged involvement in the murder should have no bearing on the role and responsibility of the executor of the estate. The case remains before a judge to be decided in the upcoming weeks.
Though hopefully most Maryland residents will not have the added stress of a murder investigation added to their grief over losing a loved one, the role and responsibility of an executor can be questioned for other reasons. The estate administration process is one to be handled delicately and professionally. When someone feels that this role is being misrepresented, they may challenge the executor, and attempt to have them removed from their position.
Source: wsbtv.com, "Andrea Sneiderman wants brother-in-law removed as executor from dead husband's will," Mike Petchenik, Sept. 14, 2012