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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37972
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I live in California. I am one of the beneficiaries of my

Customer Question

I live in California. I am one of the beneficiaries of my aunt's estate in NY. The trustee has been cagey, reluctant and outright nasty for the past 6 years. The other beneficiaries were in dire need and decided not to fight. She got really on the defensive when I asked for basic questions. She dared me to "have a lawyer and take her to court". 3 lawyers were not able to get the in from her. She outsmarted them all. The latest NY lawyer for the past year seems to have been in her corner as I have not gotten the compulsory accounting but delayed and cancelled court appearances. The accounting she provided this year was the same she did last year. In short, I received a "settlement to sign" that I release her from any and all liabilities and that we agreed on the accounting. I do not feel comfortable signing such a document which is not true. But I am also in dire need financially. She presented a HUD document that she handwritten numbers on it, she doubled paid herself many times, the lease was the same lease that she presented under different tenants. I sat down with my CPA who also works on estate matters and he himself after reviewing the accounting has pointed out to me a lot of irregularities and said: "The trusteee has screwed me".
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: I live in California. I am one of the beneficiaries of my aunt's estate in NY. The trustee has been cagey, reluctant and outright nasty for the past 6 years. The other beneficiaries were in dire need and decided not to fight. She got really on the defensive when I asked for basic questions. She dared me to "have a lawyer and take her to court". 3 lawyers were not able to get the in from her. She outsmarted them all. The latest NY lawyer for the past year seems to have been in her corner as I have not gotten the compulsory accounting but delayed and cancelled court appearances. The accounting she provided this year was the same she did last year. In short, I received a "settlement to sign" that I release her from any and all liabilities and that we agreed on the accounting. I do not feel comfortable signing such a document which is not true. But I am also in dire need financially. She presented a HUD document that she handwritten numbers on it, she doubled paid herself many times, the lease was the same lease that she presented under different tenants. I sat down with my CPA who also works on estate matters and he himself after reviewing the accounting has pointed out to me a lot of irregularities and said: "The trustee has screwed me". What resources do I have after signing this "settlement"? Knowing that I will not be able to contest the questionable numbers she presented and withheld, can the HUD in NY be alerted on a possible fraud or can an investigation be conducted in this matter. I feel profoundly that many things are not right based on the trustee´s own words, threats, ultra-defensive behavior and the discrepancy in numbers that my CPA found out.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: Yes, I have talked to many, consulted others and contracted 3. Can a lawyer here respond to my question 1) that if I sign this "settlement" under duress based on her threats of not having my share or having it used up in her attorney's fees, can I claim that I was forced to do it? 2) given that one of the official government documents she submitted, the HUD form got many handwritten figures on it, (making it suspicious and non-compliant), can I file a report with the HUD in New York for an investigation? Please have a lawyer contact me to answer thsese questions. Thank you.
JA: What advice did they give you?
Customer: I am interested in your advice here.
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: Yes, There are many details I can give him when he or she contacts me.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 months ago.

Hello...you asked:

1) if I sign this "settlement" under duress based on her threats of not having my share or having it used up in her attorney's fees, can I claim that I was forced to do it?

A: If your intent is to sign the settlement, get your money from the estate, and then claim that the settlement was accepted by you under duress (involuntarily), as a means to obtain sufficient funds to prove that the accounting of the estate was fraudulent, then you could certainly make such a claim, but, you would have the burden of proving that claim in court.

2) given that one of the official government documents she submitted, the HUD form got many handwritten figures on it, (making it suspicious and non-compliant), can I file a report with the HUD in New York for an investigation?

A: The fact that a document contains "handwritten figures" does not make the document defective or effective. If you can prove that the person submitting the documents to the government has committed a fraud, then the government can investigate, because the government is not a party to your settlement agreement.

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