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Estate atty not giving me my inheritance!

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Gettingrippedoff

Active Member
I inherited a substantial sum of money. The money was held in a trust that was set up so that the estate did not have to go through probate. My mother died September 2018 and the estate atty still has not handed over the money to me. I am a beneficiary and my brother is the executor/trustee. The estate atty has been tasked with collecting the money (it's in 10 different financial accounts). I have seen the documents required to have to redeem the money - there is nothing to them - they are simple. It would take no more than 15-30 minutes to fill them out. So we are talking of a measly 5 hours worth of work yet as of May 15th (8 months later) the atty had not requested some of the accounts to be redeemed.

There are no extenuating circumstances that would cause a delay. My mother set everything up ahead of time and so there is no probate - all that has to be done is for the atty to fill out the paperwork on 10 accounts so as to redeem the accounts - which is a measly amount of work - yet it's 8 months and I still don't have my money????

I filed a complaint w the 5th district greivance committee but the refused to investigate it. I think it might be because I am not a trustee. The said something about going through the surrogate court to complain.

My brother doesn't care how long it takes - he's already rich and does not need the money. I don't know why he didn't just file the papers himself. I filed a complaint w the NYS greviance committee but they refused to investigate. IT might be because I am not a trustee. The atty does not return my telephone calls or emails. I really am totally steamed. What recourse do I have?

I live in NYS
 
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FlyingRon

Senior Member
Understand that while the executor and trustee may be the same person and the attorney may represent them both, they are distinct entities.
Note the attorney for either the trustee or the estate doesn't represent you, he represents the estate's interest. There's not enough for us to tell. Your choices are to either to be patient or get your own attorney.
 

Gettingrippedoff

Active Member
the estate interests as stated in the trust documents are that a portion of the money goes to me as one of the beneficiaries. How can the estate atty ignore what is in the trust documents and wait 8 months without having given me the money?
 

Gettingrippedoff

Active Member
Understand that while the executor and trustee may be the same person and the attorney may represent them both, they are distinct entities.
Note the attorney for either the trustee or the estate doesn't represent you, he represents the estate's interest. There's not enough for us to tell. Your choices are to either to be patient or get your own attorney.
are you saying the estate atty does not have to follow the directions as laid out in the trust documents?
 

Gettingrippedoff

Active Member
Understand that while the executor and trustee may be the same person and the attorney may represent them both, they are distinct entities.
Note the attorney for either the trustee or the estate doesn't represent you, he represents the estate's interest. There's not enough for us to tell. Your choices are to either to be patient or get your own attorney.
sorry for the multiple posts. The estate interests are laid out in the trust documents. The trust documents state that a percentage of the money goes to me. How is not giving me the money - as directed in the trust documents, NOT in the interest of the estate?????
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
I think there is more going on than you are aware of. I think you need to be a bit more patient.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
so the beneficiary has no rights and the estate atty can ignore me?
Yes. The estate attorney works for the estate. The estate attorney is liable to the executor and works at the direction of the executor. If they have been told to not respond to you, then they cannot respond to you. Your action is to speak with the executor.


Irrespective of that: the estate attorney does not control or have anything to do with the trust unless they are also hired to provide counsel for the trustee of the trust. That is an entirely separate issue.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
sorry for the multiple posts. The estate interests are laid out in the trust documents. The trust documents state that a percentage of the money goes to me. How is not giving me the money - as directed in the trust documents, NOT in the interest of the estate?????
The trust documents do not control the estate. The estate actions do not control the trust. They are separate legal entities and neither controls the other.


If the assets were in the trust prior to the death of the trustor, the estate is simply not involved with the trust. If the assets were to be placed into the trust as directed by a pour over will, the estate actions are to deposit the assets of the estate into the trust as directed by the will. Once that happens, the estate and its representatives are out of the picture as far as the trust goes.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
are you saying the estate atty does not have to follow the directions as laid out in the trust documents?
Absolutely correct. The estate attorney (and with this statement rolling them into a joint entity along with the executor of the estate) is bound t act as the will and laws applicable to probate of an estate direct. The trust is a separate entity that is neither controlled by the estate (or its representatives) Nor does it control actions of the estate (or its representatives).
 

justalayman

Senior Member
the estate interests as stated in the trust documents are that a portion of the money goes to me as one of the beneficiaries. How can the estate atty ignore what is in the trust documents and wait 8 months without having given me the money?
But since the trust does not control the estate, the statement as written is not enforceable. The estate attorney can ignore what is in the trust documents forever because the estate attorney does not represent the trust. Since the trust doesn’t control the estate assets, your statement is simply a circle of nothingness.
 

Dandy Don

Senior Member
The estate attorney may not be the problem, as the executor has no direct legal authority to handle or manage trust affairs.. The problem may be your brother, the trustee, who has the authority to distribute the funds from the trust. Is there any reason you can think of (spite? his dislike of you?) why he would deliberately want to delay paying you and other beneficiaries what is rightfully theirs? There supposedly will be specific instructions in the trust on what his duties are and he must follow those instructions as specifically as he can. Do you have a copy of the trust document that would explain when the payments to beneficiaries are to be made? If you do not have a copy of the trust, ask a trust attorney if New York law requires you to request (in writing) a copy of the trust from the trustee.

The executor and/or the trustee will need to look at exactly how the accounts are titled to determine whether the accounts belong to the trust or to the estate. If the accounts are titled to the trust, then the trustee is responsible for claiming those accounts.

Look at the trust to see if it requires that a trustee's bond be purchased or whether the trustee bond is exempted/not required.

Get an attorney to consult with/ask your questions. Have your attorney send the trustee a letter asking when can the beneficiaries reasonably expect to be paid and see how the trustee responds.
 
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Gettingrippedoff

Active Member
Yes. The estate attorney works for the estate. The estate attorney is liable to the executor and works at the direction of the executor. If they have been told to not respond to you, then they cannot respond to you. Your action is to speak with the executor.


Irrespective of that: the estate attorney does not control or have anything to do with the trust unless they are also hired to provide counsel for the trustee of the trust. That is an entirely separate issue.
Apparently what happened is my brother the executor was too stupid to understand he could fill out the papers to redeem the financial accounts himself. Either that - or the atty pulled the wool over my brothers eyes or both.

I told my brother he was stupid to have the atty be assigned the task of redeeming the accounts.

There are no other extenuating circumstances. The trust accounts did not have to go through probate - that was the purpose of setting up the trust. I have the trust papers and they state that the money is to be distributed to the heirs.

I don't know any planet whereby people should be patient to get their money (over a half million dollars) for 8 months. It's an outrage to suggest that is ok. I was in the investment field and if I didn't redeem a clients money the same day they told me to - I could be prosecuted, fired and sued. I don't know why atty's think they can take all the time they want. I am going to file complaints w the surrogate court and hang this guy out to dry - if possible. I understand that atty world is a totally different planet and I'll prob be told if the atty wants to take 10 years that is acceptable and to go pound salt in the meantime.
 
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