I wrote the book on Minnesota probate.


On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2019 | Estate Planning News |

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Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, had a colorful career of occupations before he became president in 1901.

One of his experiences was as a rancher overseeing hundreds of cattle in North Dakota.

Of course, to do that he had many wranglers helping on the ranch.

The story is told of one of his ranch hands who was trying to impress his boss, TR.

The cowboy had come up with the ingenious plan to “rebrand” some of the neighbors’ cattle so that their brand would appear to be TR’s. He did this on several steers, so they now bore the brand of Theodore Roosevelt’s ranch.
The cowboy boasted of his accomplishment to Teddy thinking it would earn him a promotion or at least a bonus to his salary.

Instead Theodore Roosevelt fired him on the spot and returned the cattle to their rightful owner.

Roosevelt said to his ranch hands; “Anyone who would steal for me would also steal from me.”

This is great advice to a family who is looking to selecting one of the family members to serve as executor or personal representative for the estate.

Some family members may think that the slick brother or sister who has finagled business deals in the past may be the ideal executor.

It certainly helps if your choice for executor or personal representative also has financial experience, common sense and people skills. But these abilities are less important than the fundamental honesty and integrity of the potential executor.

You may want to think about Teddy Roosevelt’s maxim when you are choosing an executor for your family’s estate.

If the sibling has been sleazy in his business or personal affairs in the past, he or she may do the same dishonest tricks on the rest of the family.

Even if that sibling stays loyal to the family, his shady methods of operation may cause the estate to end up in legal battles with the probate court or creditors or the government or all three.

Avoid the likely heartache or legal hassles by choosing an executor who will administer the estate openly, efficiently and above all, honestly.