Inheritance question, Canadian/Dutch edition
December 27, 2013 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Knowing none of you are my lawyer, I pose this actual inheritance situation.

I am Canadian and live in Canada. My mother, also Canadian, died in 2003. My sister and I were named both co-heirs, splitting her modest nest egg and property, and co-executors.

My sister had emigrated to Europe by the time our mother died, so although I did all the mechanics of settling the will – or thought I had – she came back to Canada to co-sign the final papers as required.

My sister married a Dutch man in 2012, then she died earlier this year. I assume her husband has inherited all her property, but we've never discussed it.

Today I read a brief news item about a government site in Canada on which it's possible to look up unclaimed benefits. Almost idly, I put in my mother's name, and found that two accounts are still active in her name. One contains nearly $500, the other is an insurance account whose total amount is withheld.

I plan to apply to collect these amounts. But the question is: does my brother-in-law inherit the role of co-executor? And is he due half of whatever comes out of these two accounts?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (5 answers total)
Go ahead and claim the money.

Once you know how much you're dealing with, if it's a lot, you can consult an estate attorney to determine what the status of your sister's will is, and if you will need to share with your BIL.

If it's just a few sheckles, you can send him half.

This is one of those international law questions that's a bit too thorny for random internet people to answer with authority.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:21 AM on December 27, 2013

I actually don't know why this is an international law question, but anyway...

We had similar circumstances in my Canadian family. I am so totally not a lawyer, but as it was explained to me:

Executorship does not pass down; you were a co-executor, but now you are a sole executor. Your sister is still, however, an heir; or more precisely, her estate is still an heir. So, you may need to provide a copy of your sister's death certificate, but you should be able to claim the funds with that and a copy of your mother's will. You would then send half the proceeds to your brother-in-law, assuming he gets the proceeds of her estate. If not, she will have an executor or similar figure and that person can sort out sending one fourth to the dogs' home, one half to the art gallery, one quarter to her spouse or whatever she specified.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:47 AM on December 27, 2013

From the OP:
I mentioned the Dutch brother-in-law because it might bear on whether he would be allowed to take up my sister's role of co-executor. I thought maybe someone who isn't a citizen might not be able to do so. My apologies if this wasn't a relevant bit of data.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:29 PM on December 27, 2013

DarlingBri has it. He won't be an executor (and that issue would be governed by Canadian law, not Dutch), however her estate is still a co-heir, and would get half. Like you say, presumably that's to your BIL, but at the least he will know. Contact him to sort out how he wants the money.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:55 PM on December 27, 2013

You must go talk to a probate lawyer in your mother's jurisdiction.

I'm not a lawyer, not Canadian, etc, but the partial answer in Australia is that a grant in a will does not survive the death of the recipient. In other words if your sister was dead at the time of your mother's death then the whole of the estate would go to you.

Her dying later is a big wrinkle and there will almost certainly be a statutory answer to your question.

Executorship is not heritable in any place I've ever heard of. That'd be slightly nuts.
posted by polyglot at 7:34 PM on December 27, 2013

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