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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36221
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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My attorney made me believe I owned the estate my late

Customer Question

My attorney made me believe I owned the estate my late Husband left me because I'm the executrix of his will. He asked me to remove my things from the home. Told me his mother was staying there but wasn't. And more... I need to fire him for his outrageous fees and hire an attorney who has excellent ethics.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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I am sorry you have run into an attorney who is acting this way.

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What is your legal question I can help with tonight?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
My late husband left me our condo in fl and a third of a share of a family home in RI. I hired an attorney threw the yellow pages in RI and the attorney who wrote the will in FL is working on the FL condo. So far, they charged me double fees on there ends over 5k just to get me executrix for RI estate. Making me believe I owned a third without getting me tenants in common deed. There are some issues his daughters in there late 40'S and married with their own business have with me. What kind of documents do I need or my attorney should have set up for me to be part owner of the home in RI? And why is my attorney telling me to remove my personal things from the home which is half the homes furnishings and more. It seems like my attorneys stalling. Is there anything the other sides att they can do to try to keep me off the deed? If so I believe my RI attorney is doing some very unethical things for them. I will be calling him tomorrow bThis is all sickening to me. I now need to find out what he's up to and replace him. Any extra advise will be helpful. Thank you!
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

What kind of documents do I need or my attorney should have set up for me to be part owner of the home in RI?

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If husband owned the house in his name solely, then you as the executrix of the estate would have an estate deed prepared that would transfer 1/3 of the house from the estate over to you as one of the beneficiaries.

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And why is my attorney telling me to remove my personal things from the home which is half the homes furnishings and more

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I can't come up with a good answer for that because if you are being given 1/3 of the house, you have the right to live there if you choose until one of the other owners decided to file a "partition" action to force a sale of the property.

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Is there anything the other sides att they can do to try to keep me off the deed?

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No, not if the will leaves it to you. The only way this could occur is if there are a lot of debts that need to be paid and you as the executrix has to sell the house to pay them. Debts get paid before any heirs get anything.

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But as long as you have a copy of the will and it says you get 1/3, then you as executrix have a legal and a fiduciary duty to the estate and the beneficiaries to ensure that the estate is settled and the heirs get whatever they were gifted in the will.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
There is a deed. My husbands mother has a life estate and she is alive. Living in Florida 94, can't travel. His two daughters are on it also as was he, but left me his share in his will. The home is up for sale but his daughters priced it a few hundred thousand over what the realtor suggested to sale it for. There has been no inerest.
My attorney never went and asked me to the deed. It's been 3 months since I was named executor. My late Husband also left me his belongings in the house. While my attorney keeps asking me to give him all the items in the the house he also told me to remove my things because they may rent it. I'm get mixed advise from my attorney making me think he doesn't have my best interest. I want to go there and stay in the house but every time I bring it up he changes the subject. My husband passed In February. I had a nervous breakdown and neither one of my attorneys wer concerned. I have autoimmune desease and depression. Another thing is neither one of my attorneys have explained anything to me or told me to get better before they move on. My RI attorney billed me for documents and information that I did for them. He also keeps bringing up why I don't have a good relationship with my late Husbands daughters. I keep telling it's them that don't like me. I love them and i pray for them daily, I'm a Christian as was my late Husband. They're All atheists. What does my personal business have to do with this estate and is my attorney taking sides? Thank you for your honest answer. LM
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
My attorney never added me to the deed. He said it wasn't important because I would get a third of the estate after the case is closed in November.He sent me documents to sign without telling me why.What questions can I ask the RI attorney to make sure he doesn't have interest in the other party? Or maybe we already figured out he does. How do I let him go and get an ethical attorney whom well keep me on the loop, cc me on all correspondence? I'm thinking I need a law firm because the one I hired works for himself.I will be sending you correspondence between the att and I.
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

My attorney never went and asked me to the deed.

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You wouldn't be added to the deed until his estate was completely settled. Distributing assets, like adding people to deeds, is the last thing that is done before closing the estate. So if the estate is still being settled, you wouldn't be added to the deed yet. An heir doesn't instantly get the gifts in the will... Final expenses and debts of the deceased have to be paid, taxes filed and clearances obtained from the IRS, the 6 month mandatory creditor claims period must expire, inventories and accountings have to be filed, etc.

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So if he passed in Feb of this year, and probate was filed in March, the mandatory 6 month waiting period won't even be up until September..

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So there are a lot of things that have to happen before anyone gets their gifts. As executrix, you are the one responsible for doing this (with your attorney's help).

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But there is nothing that would prevent you from moving into the home if you choose to do so. You dont' need your attorney's permission. And it does sound funny that he is asking for personal items and for you to remove your personal property...that is definitely improper.

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So I might consider firing him and finding another attorney because he could be trying to take advantage of you...

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Unfortunately, I am not allowed to represent customers from the site or recommend anyone personally under my agreement with JustAnswer. However, these are a couple sites that we attorneys actually use if we need foreign counsel in a state where we aren't licensed. Further, customers have consistently reported good results with these sites:

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www.martindale.com

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www.lawyers.com

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They screen their attorneys based on geographic location, area of practice, time in practice, cost and customer reviews.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
This is correspondence from my attorney. Underneath the answers are my questions back to him and they are numbered with the word Question in front or Q's or Q'n or Comments...Dear Attorney,I have a few questions and concerns under your answers as follows:1. When Bob died owning an interest in the Charlestown real estate, the State of Rhode Island automatically placed an estate tax lien on the property. The state does not send you a notice. The lien is statutory. It is just there by law. In order to get the state to record a discharge of the lien, we need to file an estate tax return with the Rhode Island Division of Taxation. In order to prepare the estate tax return we need the exact amount in any bank accounts that his name was on as of his date of death. You will not owe any estate tax. In addition, on May 23, 2016, the Probate Court appointed you as Appraiser of Bob’s estate in addition to your being appointed Executrix of his Will. As Appraiser, you are required to provide the court with an appraisal of the date of death value of all of his assets. The Appraisal is due August 23, which is another reason why we ask you to sign the bank letters requesting the date of death values. Confirmation from the banks provides back-up to what we list on the appraisal.Questions 1-3? What type of banks are these? What has been listed on the appraisal? How do I find out what is in the house since you told me I can’t stay there? I wouldn’t be shocked if Bob’s things are gone and my property is damaged or thrown in the basement. Since Att. Blake’s clients have been back and forth.2. By virtue of the probate of Bob’s will, you are now a 1/3 owner . as tenant in common, subject to your mother-in-law’s life estate. It is unnecessary for us to prepare a deed for you to sign as executrix and record in order to confirm your ownership. When we close the estate, you will have to sign a certificate that says that the property passed to you under the will. However, in addition to the certificate, we are willing to prepare a deed now if you wish. Our fee for the deed preparation would be $200. The Town of Charlestown will charge $86 to record the deed.Question 4? I would like to have this in my hands now.3. Since you are an owner of a part interest in the property now, you should be sure that you have insurance coverage for your interest in the property. If you know what company provides coverage, I advise you to ask the carrier to remove Bob’s name and replace it with your name as an additional insured on the property.
Question 5: I have no idea. How would I find out? Since there are documents missing from the condo.4. RI Law requires that we keep the estate open until November 23, 2016, to allow any of Bob’s creditors to file claims against the estate. If you know of any bank or other entity that Bob may have owed money to, please let me know so that we can notify them of the probate. In addition to filing the Probate Inventory before August 23, we will need to pay an inventory fee of 1% of the value of his personal estate, not including real estate, up to a maximum of $1500 based on the value of the items on the inventory. Then, in order to close the estate after November 23, you will need to sign an Affidavit of Complete Administration, Release, Certificate of Devise and Descent, Receipted Funeral Bill, Notice of No Estate Tax Due, and Affidavit of Notice (that we sent notice of the probate to the RI Executive Office of Health and Human Services). The cost of those various filings will be about $200 to the State and Town of Charlestown, not counting our fees for document preparation and the inventory fee. Finally, next April, you will have to file three income tax returns: Bob’s and your joint Form US 1040, a US Form 1041 (Fiduciary Income Tax Return) and a RI Form 1041 (Fiduciary Income Tax Return).
I understand that the process seems long, expensive and complicated. However, Bob did not leave his affairs in a simple way. It is even more complex than usual due to the way that the property is titled and your relationship with your step-daughters. We can’t fix that, but we will try to get you through the estate administration the best way we know how. Please call me if you have any questions. Thanks.Questions/Concerns:
In your closing remarks when you wrote, “It is even more complex than usual due to the way that the property is titled and your relationship with your step-daughters. We can’t fix that, but…I have another page to cont...
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
By the way I haven't sent this yet. I thought I would check with you first. Even though it's all true.Is there anything else you can find him telling me which is untrue? Thank You for you help?Questions/Concerns:In your closing remarks when you wrote, “It is even more complex than usual due to the way that the property is titled and your relationship with your step-daughters. We can’t fix that, but…Q’n 6-7: Att. , why are you concerned about Att. clients and their feelings towards me? Does this have anything to do with this case?And… we will try to get you through the estate administration the best way we know how”. … you certainly don’t sound very confident or reassuring as an attorney who is representing me your client, in a positive way, when you say… we will try… best way we know how… I certainly don’t feel confident at all.Q’s 8-12. Why do you repeatedly mention a relationship with Att. clients? What is your relationship with clients Att. and his clients? What have you discussed with him/them about me and Bob? What have they discussed with you about me and Bob? Did they attend probate when the court appointed me ‘Executrix’? There are plenty more questions that I already know the answers to.Q’n 13Why have you repeatedly asked me to remove my belongings from the home and have wrote it on correspondence asking me when will I be removing my property?Q’n 14-15 I’m a bit confused since I own a third of the property, right? Would removing my things be of benefit to myself?
You also said the home was being occupied with their grandmother, when it wasn’t. Of whom is 94, can’t barely see or hear and resides in an assisted living home in Florida. (After all you charged me for telling me that she was living there now.Q’n 16: Why did you charge me for something that wasn’t true?) All I had to do was call the assisted living home and they told me she hadn’t gone anywhere. Remember? I called you right back.There is something I can tell you about my so called wonderful step-children… the last time I knew they were still miserable atheists who loved to talk about people behind their backs, including each other. I on the other hand have always been a Christian and a few months before Bob passed away… he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior and became a Christian, he’s now in Heaven.I cc’d: my FL att. to see if he has the same advice as you have. Well, FL att, do you? What is your advice on how to move forward?I can’t wait to hear your responses. Please don’t charge me if you two need to counsel each other before you reply to me. That just wouldn’t be fair, would it?All this needs to be resolved if we are to move forward together.In the meantime, would you both have your assistants copy my entire file(s): to include everything from phone call notes, court documents, all correspondence including emails and anything else that is in there. I need to catch up on what I’ve been missing out of.All this time on my hands has worked toward my benefit, researching estate law and talking to experts has really paid off.Sincerely,Mrs.
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Honestly, I don't see anything that is out of order in the attorney's comments or statements. Everything he has stated is completely true... If you are confused about things and would like a clearer explanation, I would suggest a softer touch in requesting an explanation.

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To be very blunt, your questions seem a bit accusatory and a little hostile to the attorney.... I don't see the reason for it because everything he has said is completely accurate..

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There is no way that the attorney can guarantee you a perfectly smooth ride because he doesn't control what others will do. Someone might come in with a huge debt, or file a suit against the estate, or come in and claim some interest in the estate.... there is just no way to know. So only a foolish or a bad attorney will tell a client "everything will go perfectly" because that just sets him up to look foolish when a snag comes up..

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The removal of the personal property makes sense now because the grandmother has the sole right to use the property until her death. So you and the other remainder beneficiaries don't actually have the right to possess the property until grandmother dies.. That means that you can't store your personal property there if the grandmother doesn't want it there because only she has the right to use the property now and up til she dies.

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So to boil it down, I don't see anything at all that sets off any alarm bells now that I have more information about what is going on and it doesn't appear as though your attorney is trying to do anything shady to me..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
What can I do to move along and get the house priced at an appropriate amount, as the Real Estate agent said it would sell for. The daughters don't want to budge on the price. Or will they buy me out. What's the use of having a share of the home if I can't use it. Why do my rights change I lived there for 3 years with my husband. What type of att. will I need to take them to court to have the court handle it?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
What would be the best approach? The attorney lied to me about my mother in law living there... is that appropriate. Perhaps you need to read the last 2 emails I sent you. He hasn't been honest about a number of things.
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

I don't think you are clear on what a life estate and remainder interest is... When husband passed and left his mother a life estate, that means that she gets the sole use of the house until she dies... Her only... not you, not the children, not anyone else....only the mother.

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When she dies, and only when she dies, be it a month from now or ten years from now, that is when your remainder interest becomes a possessory interest and then you and the two children would each own 1/3 of the house and could sell it, move into it, rent it, etc.

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But until the mother dies, you can't sell the house, you can't use the house, it is pretty much useless to you....

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Your rights change because I can only guess that the house was solely in husband's name and you weren't on the deed anywhere.

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As for what he told you, I can't really opine on that because I don't know what was said. I know how you interpreted it, but I don't know what was actually said.

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But whether she is living there or not, the mother is the only one who has rights to use the property now and up until she dies.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
My late husbands mother is not making the decisions, her grown grand-daughters are. They have been staying there on and off, taking things that were left to me by my husband. They live in FL 10min. from me and so does my mother-in-law. What would I need to do to get my things? Can I have someone go in and appraise what is left of my husbands personal things that were left to me? I'm not getting anywhere with you.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
My Husband left me everything in the will, except his mother was on her will as living estate and her 2 grandchildren were left a third along with my husband. Who when he died willed his third to me. I thought I was getting professional help from this site. You're helping them. What kind of attorney do I need that will help me... work for me to get what I deserve. How do I sue them in court??? Your not answering many of my questions, same as my attorney. whats the deal???
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

I have to agree with you that we seem to be having some communication problems...

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i will opt out and open the question to other experts who may be able to assist further.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Biased. What a waste of my time, especially since I need advise asap and now I'm more confused do to your Biased Opinion.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I want my Money back in my account by today.

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