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  1. #1
    TrentDuke Guest

    Angry My estate lawyer won't talk to me

    What is the name of your state? Kentucky

    We found out through are estate attorney that my uncle (executor) is gonna try and add his daughter to the will or contest the "construction" of the will simply because my brother is in it.

    So, my mother, brother and I got a lawyer to defend ourselves just in case he does. We have also filed a demand of notice and after 4 months still nothing.

    I decided to give our estate lawyer a call today to set up an appointment to find out what is going on. The money is just sitting there waiting to be dispursed.

    He said he won't see me. I told him he was suppose to be representing me and the estate. He said "No, I represent the executor." Then he fumbled with words and turned it around on me saying that I had a lawyer so he won't talk to me.

    How can he do such? I thought the estate lawyer is suppose to defend the estate i.e. everyone? We aren't suing my uncle or anything so why is he representing him?

    I think my uncle is paying the attorney out of the estate funds? Isn't this illegal and a conflit of interest?

    Thanks
  2. #2
    JMJ Guest

    Estate lawyer

    I'm not a lawyer but I have been in Probate for 3 years since my husband died in Sept. of 2000. I made the mistake of having his eldest daughter named as personal representative. The Estate attorney is paid for by the money in the estate account, but only answers to the personal representative in place of the desceased. He is bound by law to work for the representative even though monies are from the estate (all heirs). He may only talk to you if the personal representative allows him to. Go to your state on the internet and print off the Probate laws. It will tell you that you have no right to access the estate attorney without the permission of the representative. To find anything out, you have to hire your own attorney and take them to court and ask the Judge to order them to give you information. It will be up to the Judge to make them give you anything relating to the status of the Estate. Check your right to demand Bond, even if the Will says it isn't necessary. In my state, if you have over $1,000. interest in the estate, you can Demand Bond, even if the Will doesn't stipulate it. I can't tell you how important it is for you to READ your state's probate laws. Most of it is spelled out and common sense. The reasoning behind the inability of heirs being able to interact with the Esate Attorny is that if there were several heirs, and each called, met with, got copies of..., all of that would be billed to the estate and several heirs could run up hugh legal bills to the estate. That's why, I think, the laws limit access to the Estate attorney to the ONE person, the representative. Makes sense after you think about it, but other wise, like you, I originally thought I would have access. In my state, the INVENTORY is due 90 days after death, and you have a right to a copy of that...Make sure you file a "Right of Notice"...then you get that info when it is filed. If it is not filed in 90 days, check to see if the Estate got an extention and see what the next dead line is....then get it when it is filed. In my case, they got extentions for almost ONE year, and only finally filed it a few days prior to my taking them to court over it. Brace yourself, it will probably be a nightmare. Hoipe this helps.
  3. #3
    JMJ Guest
    I forgot to mention that every thing the Estate files is on record at the court house and you have access to that information. Check frequently and view the file to see what has been done. Ask for copies of anything there you want a record of. There is a form in our file with the requirements of the court for the Personal Representative and Estate to file appropriate records by certain time frames. As the info is filed the court checks off what has been done to date on that form. You can look at the form and see a list of things to be done, and what is left undone. You can't write the Judge because that is considered "ex parte" communication...(check out what that means).
  4. #4
    TrentDuke Guest
    We have a lawyer and have spent $2K so far and NOTHING. We filed a Demand of Notice back in May and my uncle/estate lawyer have been dragging their feet. We have the inventory report that was filed already. He left off "household goods." This has allowed his father to go into the house and take alot of stuff. Even his father told me that he did. But according to our lawyer...that is not solid evidence. My uncle even told my roommate that his father did such. That is not solid evidence cause he is a friend.

    You are right...this has become a nightmare.

    We contacted the lawyer who wrote the will 7 months ago and he said...

    If my uncle hired this estate lawyer to try and get his daughter in the will and at the same time uses estate funds to pay the lawyer...that they would be in "big trouble."

    Trent
  5. #5
    JMJ Guest
    We've spent $30,000. on legal fees and still nothing and three years! I suggest that one of you fire your attorney, and others in your group keep him. That way, the ones that have representation can protect their interest, and there by protect the one with out an attorney, If the estate is kept in tact, the people in the Will receive their percentage. If one of you is not represented by an attorney, you can file "free" Demand for Bond, and get a hearing probably. Force the Estate to come under the scrutiny of a BONDING company! The Bonding company won't insure the Estate unless they are sure they have all the inventory! Also, if the Estate has not done what they are suppose to do, you can file for a Status Hearing on your own accord as an Heir, save your legal fees if you are the one without an attorney, and go to the Judge and ask him to "compel" compliance with their "fudiciary" responsiblities and stop dragging their feet, or show cause to the Courts why it is taking them so long. Good luck....READ the State LAWS on Probate.....you'll be surprised what your rights are and are not.
  6. #6
    TrentDuke Guest
    Wow...thanks for the tips.

    What is a "status hearing?" Is that free to file?

    Cause the only thing holding up the estate is my uncle's vandita against my brother in the will and not his 1 yr old daughter. The money is simply sitting there in the bank waiting to be distributed. It's only $130K total.

    I understand what you mean by everyone not needing a lawyer to protect their interest but we thought it would be far that the 3 of us share the expense equally helping all of us. We felt it would be unfair that only 1 pays the attorney fees when we all would benefit.
  7. #7
    JMJ Guest
    If you all 3 have an attorney, then if you want to file anything, it has to be filed by the attorney. If one of you isn't represented by an attorney, then that ONE can file the things you are legally able to on their own, ergo, saving the legal fees. Demand for Notice, Demand for BOND, are free to file. Gets their attention. But if you have an attorney, you have to pay him to file it. A status Hearing is a request from the heirs for a legal proceeding to find out what is going on and usually granted by the Judge. You get that via an attorney filing on your behalf, or if one is not represented, he asks for it to the Judge. If you write the Judge, you must send a copy to everyone involved, or it is considered "ex parte" and not allowed. But you don't do that if you have an attorney, the attorney does. That's why I suggest one of you, to save all three of you legal fees, drop the attorney. DO READ the PROBATE LAWS for your state. They are on the Internet or the Probate Court can tell you where to get them. Hope this helps.
  8. #8
    TrentDuke Guest
    I will have to talk to my mother and brother and see if they would let me drop out of our attorney representing me.

    I thought about writing the judge, how does one go about doing that? Making sure he/she gets it and to which judge?

    Thanks for all your help...its been better than our lawyer lol.

    Trent
  9. #9
    JMJ Guest
    Trent, Ex Parte means communicating with the court behind peoples back I think. If you do anything, you have to send a copy of the letter to all parties involved. If you write the Judge a letter you have to send a copy to everyone involved and put at the bottom of the letter...Copy to: (then name each individual in the Will) and mail them a copy. A MOTION is a legal plea with the court, and you can file a motion with the court to ask for a Status Hearing or File a Demand of Bond (form should be on the Internet under Probate forms) and then you get a Hearing and bring up the fact that you want bond because you don't trust the person handling the estate and tell why. Before you do anything, read the Probate Laws for your State. I'm not an attorney but there are some rights you have. Only you can recognize which rule of law under Probate applies to your particular concerns, so please please read them. They may awaken in you something that you completly forgot about or didn't know applied.
  10. #10
    TrentDuke Guest
    I found the probate laws for my state online. It's very hard to read the statues and many don't make sense. I don't see anything about filing a motion.

    Thanks

    Trent
  11. #11
    TrentDuke Guest
    Okay...

    I found the judge's address who set the estate in probate.

    You said to write him.

    What do I say? Tell him how my uncle's actions (letting his father steal items of value out of the house, him holding up the distribution due to his disliking of the way the will was written?, how he was trying to scheme money before my grandmother's death?)

    Thanks
  12. #12
    JMJ Guest
    You can write the Judge if you copy it to everyone but you have to be careful what you write him about. There are procedures in Court and Motions are the form you file for action by the court. Your best bet is to file a "DEMAND FOR BOND" and get the other heirs to do so also. The form for a Demand for Bond is probably on the internet or you can get a form from the Probate court. Fill it out and file it yourself. That will get you a Hearing and hopefully protection. The Bond Company then is liable if things are missing. Find photo's, witnesses etc. to prove things are missing. So the Bond Company makes your uncle accountable before they will insure him. The Judge doesn't care how you "feel" (they are use to ill feelings in families over estates) but does care if you have a legitimate issue or issues and can back it up with proof. If you feel things are missing, ask for a Hearing and bring sworn affidavit's by witnesses and or photo's of stuff that was there and is now gone.
  13. #13
    TrentDuke Guest
    My uncle had to put up a "bond" to be the rep. It was $150K. But I am not sure what % he had to pay of that.
  14. #14
    TrentDuke Guest

    Unhappy

    I called Probate that they have never heard of such filing of a "status hearing" or a "demand of bond."

    What else would you recommend?
  15. #15
    JMJ Guest
    Hi Duke, Possibly your state laws are different than mine. You would have needed to read your state laws regarding bond.....but then you did say your uncle had to post bond, so that would be moot or useless. The bond company has some liability if your share is squandered.

    A status hearing is called when you feel you have a right to know what is going on**************but that has to be filed in a motion to the court. In my case, too much time went on and too many things left undone and not met by the estate....so we were justified in asking and being granted a status hearing. You have to have "substance" to get a hearing.

    Probate can take a long time. I've been in court three years and my neighbor four years, and we both had valid Wills that went uncontested. We just have trouble getting the personal representatives to do what they are required by law to do. It cost us money for our own attorney's to take them to court, and they usually comply with their duties right before we get the the court date. They only get their hand slapped by the court....then continue in the same manner. Your best bet is to check out what is required by law, i.e. the Inventory and Appraisment may have 90 days to be filed, see if it has been, and if everything is reported. If things are missing, either file a motion with the court stating things are missing, with proof of their existance through witnesses or photos etc., or pay your attorney to file. If you can nail them on irregularities mananging the estate, you may have them removed. Also check your state laws on who would then be appointed. If a second person is named in the will as an alternative, they would probably be put in charge. If there is a reason they would now not be fair, perhaps you can oppose the second personal representative and get the court to appoint an unbias appointee from outside the family and heirs.

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