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N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 9389
Experience:  Since 1983
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My mother passed away in March 2014 and had no will. I am

Customer Question

Hello, my mother passed away in March 2014 and had no will. I am the court appointed administrator for her probate case. By June 2014 we hired a probate lawyer Who will earn money only if there is money left. My mother owned a rental property that she had just signed a one-year lease with the tenants 2 weeks prior to her passing. I had remembered my Mom telling me how fond she was of this family that was found to rent the property. I have zero experience with probates or wills. After learning from our probate lawyer that a typical probate takes two years to finalize... My instinct was to offer this Family to continue living in the property and complete their lease agreement through February 2015. The tenants were thrilled that they could stay and would send their rent checks to me and I would then pay the mortgage Co. I did verbally and clearly inform Our probate attorney of this upon hiring him June 2014. Moms debt and everything involved was a mess and we all soon figured out that all of us would earn a very very minimal inheritance if any. Months went by and family first time our probate lawyer told me that I needed to open an estate account . I honestly had no idea this is my first experience with the probate case or will. At this time he asked me to open the estate account is when the property she did live at sold and there was profit from the sale to put into an estate account . This is now late November 2014.
So from March 2014 through December 2014 the renters at her rental property and regular basis. See page 1125 in rent. The mortgage was $900 per month. This property was four hours distance from me and I am a stay-at-home mother of three kids was unable to go out to help them fix anything that came about so I would just take their word and have them lower the rent on a very regular basis based on what they say they paid an outside contractor. Also during that time the woman had a extremely complicated pregnancy did give birth and then lost her baby at two months old. I ended up telling them they could vacate December 2014 with no early termination consequence. So to sum it up there was a teen/profit of approximately $75-$100 each month that I did put in my personal checking account . I guess I felt like I was acting as a property manager and the dollar amount was not substantial enough to do anything with and at that time I didn't even know about the estate account . Now all of 2015- they had vacated ,there was no rental income and the property ended up going into bankruptcy and has an upcoming sale date . All of 2015 my lawyer still did not inform me or ask me to deposit and withdraw the rental money activity through this estate account. Just now after allll of this time he is demanding that I get a statement from the mortgage company showing all payments made during 2014 which is no problem for me. But he is also demanding copies of my personal checking account statements to see what amounts they sent me each month , what the profit was and wants every dollar of any profits back and for me to document everything that happened with contractors and repairs and maintenance during that year. The rental income profit comes out to be between $600-700 for the 2014 year.
Do I have to show you him my checking account bank statements? There is so much personal stuff on there I don't want him to see..
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question.

Would the lawyer be satisfied if you gave him the account statements and blacked out everything not related to the rental property?

Have you asked that of the lawyer?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, I haven't asked but I will. In the case that he says no? Will I be required to pay the estate account back? I never meant to be wasn't much each month but now if I have to pay it back in one lump sum.... It's just so frustrating because our probate lawyer listened to me talk about this rental and tenants for over a year without educating me on what I was required to do
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He didn't advise me to open an estate account until the month before the tenants vacated in December 2014
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I didn't know there would be an estate account or anything
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

You should be able to work out a payment plan with the lawyer.

The rental income is property of the Estate and does have to be repaid, unless the lawyer agrees that it can be deducted from your share of the Estate.

Opening an account for the Estate is one of the first steps required of an executor, and the lawyer should have told you that the day he was retained.

You can find a lot of useful information in

How to Probate an Estate in California

which is available at most County Law Libraries.

I hope this information is helpful.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

If you are satisfied, please remember to rate my answer as 3 or above, otherwise my time here is not compensated.