How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37322
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
19958803
Type Your Estate Law Question Here...
Barrister is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I retained an attorney earlier this year pending case.

Customer Question

I retained an attorney earlier this year for a pending case. before anything happened with it, he passed away. I paid my $4000.00 retainer fee upfront. can I get that back?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

.

Yes, you can get the money back, but will have to submit a "Creditor claim" against his estate for a refund of the retainer that was unearned. The Bar won't really have anything to do with it, as this is a matter of his estate being liable for refunding you the money.

.

You can contact the probate court in the county where he lived and practiced and see if a probate case has been opened to settle his estate. Then you contact the executor and file a creditor claim with them for a refund of the fee..

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Great, thanks for the info- Ive called the county and there is not a case open. What do I do in this case? He was the only attorney in the office whom he passed the practice onto. I know hes married but no one ever reached out to his clients about what to do next or about the retainers. I have had to retain another attorney and pay another retainer fee. Just wondering what else I can do
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Well, if no one has filed a probate case to settle his estate, then you are kind of stuck unless you wanted to actually "force" open a probate case and become the Administrator of his estate so you could reimburse yourself.

.

But I kind of think that if he had any assets in his estate, some family member would have filed a probate case to settle his estate. So if he had no assets in his estate, you may unfortunately be out of luck in getting a refund on your retainer.

.

I would try to reach out to his next of kin and see if he was married or had children and maybe contact the local property valuation office to see if he owned any real estate. If he did, then it might be worth your time pursuing forcing open an estate to recover your money.

.

.

thanks

Barrister