NZ lawre wills.I am co executor of my dads will.He passed away nearly 3 years ago.I am executor with my 2 sisters and I was informed by dads lawyer that no funds could be released without the agreement of all 3 of us. I received an email from the lawyer within 60 days of my dad dying stating that my sisters had requested for the funds to be released.I was in Australia at the time and immediately responded by email saying....do not release the funds and I will be back in 2 working days time to speak with my sisters as we had issues to sort out. The lawyer sent my email to my sisters and one of them phoned him staright away and convinced him to release the funds(without my permission)...This has caused huge upset in our family and relationships are frayed and we do not speak to each other any more. I feel the lawyer was supposed to be protector of wills so that this sort of thing can't happen.Does he have a case to answer to. There is a smaller amount of outstanding money to be released and because I have not signed and sent appropriate document it is in limbo. I feel ripped off by this lawyer.please advisemarty
Country relating to Question: New Zealand
have spoken to the lawyer in question who pleads ignorance and that my sister was very persuasive and also spoke to another lawyer who said there might be a case to answer...but what channels and what way do i proceed
Hi Welcome to JustAnswer. My first response will follow shortly. Please feel free to follow up if anything is not clear
If money is held in trust for a purpose, and there are 3 trustees then the money should not be released without joint authority. The lawyer has breached his authority and paid out and could be disciplined by the Law Society for doing this. Have you considered making a complaint? Was there a reason the money had to be held, and did the payment out affect that reason? This would be relevant to the complaint.
How do i make a complaint...to whom and at what address, please. Also the lawyer has been communicating with my sisters but not with me for the last 3 years....he has my email and phone etc details...and I have called his office asking him to contact me but no response.....and since this all started because he transmitted my email to them quickly...I find this to be wrong and rude,........what is the procedure here also ?....The damage has beem done,money released and one person in our family has been denied their inheritance!......My sisters now threaten me with court action to get the final document signed...and before this debacle our relationship was good.It will never be the same and the fallout to people on the periphery...namely my nieces and Mother and brother and partners etc....is huge and very uncomfortable for all.Apart from a slap on the wrist by the lawyers association ...what other action can be taken
You will find that the Complaints Service of the New Zealand Law Society take payment from a trust account very seriously. They can be contacted at http://www.lawsociety.org.nz/home/for_the_public/lawyers_complaints_service
This site tells you about how the service works and the process. It is very basic trust accounting practice that money held in trust can only be paid out with a written authority.
The complaint is part of the process. if the payment out caused loss then you can sue the lawyer fro the breach of care and negligence and his/her insurer will consider the claim, and possibly pay out if negligence is shown.
This would be separate from the complaint however. In the complaint you can also raise the issue of lack of communication.
LLB MMgt FAMINZ 32 years qualified as lawyer
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