Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Left in the lurch on parents' estate

DEAR HARRY: My parents both died in 2013. My sister and I are the only survivors. Neither of my parents left a will.

My sister is familiar with a lot of financial stuff, so I agreed to let her be the administrator of their estates. That was my mistake.

She took over like a ball of fire without letting me know what was happening in advance. With April 15 approaching, I had no indication of how my tax return would be affected.

My tax preparer got an extension to file the return. I have called dozens of times. Now, she refuses to talk about it or anything else regarding the estate: "You'll get the information when I'm good and ready."

From what I recall my parents saying, I believe they owned just their home (which was sold in November), a few stocks and a lot of CDs. None of this seems complicated. Legal fees are pretty stiff. We were quoted $250 an hour for just a consultation. Is that the only way to go?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: I don't know what the problem is, but such delays cause me to worry about everything else related to the estate. I don't like to see family squabbles. Try one more phone call first. Legal fees are often stiff, but I think she'll straighten things out quickly once she gets a strong letter from a lawyer. Good luck!


Email Harry Gross at, or write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.

Harry Gross Daily News Personal Finance Columnist
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