Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Three months after my mom died in April of 2010. My brother and I went to visit with an estate attorney. He said the estate should be finished in about 6-7 months and that the paralegal could do most of the work to keep costs reasonable and at a minimum. So we visited with the paralegal named Josh and he got the ball rolling. We gave him a listing of property in the estate and he filed it with the court and provided us copies of court documents. Then, after two months of not hearing anything, I called the office only to find out our case had been assigned to an attorney joining the law firm and that Josh had left. We got the name of a secretary named Jeanie who was to act as paralegal and facilitate our estate settlement process. So over the course of the next 7-8 months, we never heard from her. We kept sending emails and calling but these went unanswered. Then, she sent an email and apologized for the delay and said the reason was that she was on a high learning curve. She said all would be done by January at the latest. So then we never heard anything again until March, 2012 when third person contacted us and said she was put in charge of finalizing the estate and wanted a listing of property and how we wanted to divide it. (Which we had already provided to Josh about 2 years earlier). Over the course of two years, my brother and I had divided all the property in the estate and had disposed of everything except one house. So we go meet with the attorney and the three of us come to agreement to “ have him (the attorney) list the only remaining piece of property left in the estate (the house) with one of two realtors requested by me and my brother within the next week.” So for four weeks we hear nothing. I drive by the house and see a “For Sale by Owner” sign in the yard with the attorney’s secretary’s phone number on it. He sends us a letter and says his office will sell the house for a 7% fee and he will hire someone to clean for a price. He wants us to sign the agreement to this effect. So we ignore the letter and call the realtor he said he would call and list the house. The house has not sold and probably will not because of structural damage. In the meantime, he has written us two letters saying he wants payment of $10,200 in ten days or he will raise the fee.
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