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Executor of the Estate


Sibling arguments can cause a wrench in planning for aging parents. Funny lady Mary Maxwell answers a daughter who is nervous about handling her mother's estate with siblings who dislike her.

Download a transcript of this Mary Maxwell video (PDF)

Inheritance is a sensitive issue that can send brothers and sisters into turmoil. Family caregiving may be stressful under any circumstances. Read the Top Five Sibling Caregiver Hot Buttons for information on how The 50-50 Rule® public education program can help you address challenging issues with effective communication skills.

Executor of the Estate

-Mary Maxwell, Posted April 2,2012

From St. Paul, Colleen writes, "Dear Mary, I'm not sure what to do. My mother wants me to be the executor of her estate. She says I am the responsible one out of all five siblings. I don't want to do it. My siblings already dislike me and I fear this would drive an even bigger wedge between us. How can I gently tell my mother 'thanks, but no thanks?'"

An interesting problem, Colleen. You don't mention why it is that your siblings don't like you. There could be many reasons. You might have been a tattletale, you might have been the oldest, or the youngest, or the one who got the naturally curly hair. Or the one who can eat anything and never gain an ounce, in which case your siblings are absolutely justified in their dislike. You also don't mention the size of the estate. If it is considerable, well, your siblings already don't like you so I would say it would be kind of you to go ahead and honor your mother's wishes. It will give her peace of mind. I'm assuming your brothers and sisters don't carry weapons. They don't, do they?

Watch the video,

Visit to discover more wit and wisdom from Mary Maxwell, as well as expert advice from Dr. Amy D'Aprix and other videos, articles, and resources for family caregivers.

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. April 13, 2012 at 10:43 am | Posted by Jo Ann Kline, MSW

    Mary is a doll...and I fell in love with her the first time I saw one of her skits. God bless her and keep her healthy and funny all the days of her life.


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