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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6516
Experience:  Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters
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I have a few more questions regarding my stepmothers estate.

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I have a few more questions regarding my stepmothers estate. When I told the lawyer I was going to retain representation in order to obtain my file because they had not given it to me she was really rude and said they were doing it in a timely matter.
Exactly what is the time frame that the law allows? She told me that they did not have to give me any billing statements for the last year because that was billed to my fathers estate and I was not the executor. Can she legally do that? On another issue by
stepmother had a good friend who often stayed with her and took her to doctor appointments. She would not come here to live with me and my children because she did not want to leave her friends. She gave her friend 40,000 dollars. several months after my stepmother
died her friend called the estate lawyer who I thought represented the estate and myself and set up an appointment to see her. She wanted to sue the estate she thought she should be given more money. She was just a friend who spent time with her. No contract
verbal or written. I was never told off this meeting I only found out when I was going over the billing statements I noticed the estate was billed 275 dollars for this meeting. Nancy said she was defusing a situation by advising her that there was no way she
could win if she sued the estate. Is this a legal practice to bill me for someone else to get legal advice and not even tell me? Shouldn't she have gone to her own lawyer and payed for it I don't understand how she could do this and then when I questioned
the bill she was offended? Is this a common billing practice?
Was your step mother the executor of your father's estate? Was his estate still open on your step-mother's death or had probate been completed?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Probate had been completed. She was the executor of my fathers will. Eleven months after my fathers death she pasted away. I was her executor. My brother was the 2nd executor listed in my fathers will everything from my fathers estate had been completed except for a one bill that was forwarded to me to pay.
In regard to the bill, while you were not executor of your father's estate, you were an heir. In addition, you are now in charge of your step-mother's estate and need the same information she needed to proceed to pay bills on your father's estate and on behalf of his estate. It would be highly unusual to have to reopen his probate and get someone appointed as executor just so you could obtain copies of billing statements regarding administration of his estate. It sounds like they're just trying to make things hard for you. Getting your new attorney involved, once you have one, should make that move forward so that you can obtain copies of the billing statements.
As far as getting a copy of the file. There is no time limit, but a reasonable time to get a file together should only be a couple of weeks at the most unless you're talking about a very complex probate that's been going on for years -- that's not the case with your step-mother's estate. Again, getting your new attorney involved may help to speed up their compliance with your request for the file. The problem is that if you still don't have it within another couple of weeks, there's very little that can be done that won't take a substantial amount of time to produce results. One of the best things you could probably do is threaten a bar complaint for failure to turn over the client file upon termination of representation. That is serious to attorneys and something that is a violation of the ethical rules, so that might be something to consider.
Finally, as to billing the estate for meeting with someone that was threatening to sue the estate -- that's normal because attorneys often do meet with these types of peoples (on behalf of the estate) and explain they will not settle and that they can sue if they want but they won't get anything. It is a manner of effectively defusing matters before they become a large problem.
However, it is highly unusual that you were not informed of this person's threat of suit and asked if you would like the attorney to meet with this person to handle the situation. For them to just meet with the person without your knowledge and without getting your approval is not proper and I would contest that charge if I were you as an unauthorized action by the attorney.
Please let me know if I can provide clarification or additional information. Thanks.
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