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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37402
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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Estate from 2011 - Final financial distribution was signed

Customer Question

Estate from 2011 - Final financial distribution was signed by both lawyer and beneficiary after judge, lawyer, executor and beneficiary agreed on figures. No money had been received. 4 months later received notice from lawyer that there was an error in the math on the final summary he prepared and a new distribution agreement has been presented to be signed with reduction. Isn't the signed agreement a legal and binding agreement?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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What is the nature of the error?

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Was this some type of calculation error where they thought they had more money than they did?

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Or have additional expenses come in that had to be paid?

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In the initial agreement was there a certain percentage that the beneficiary was to receive or just a set amount?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They claimed that there was a 'closing cost' of a sale of a home that was omitted. howver the dollar amount of 'closing costs' doesn't jibe as if this were the case, split 3 ways, the closing costs would be $56k.
I was to receive a percentage and the dollar amount was listed on the dualy signed agreement, after discussion with lawyer and judge. The estate was settled in a conference with all parties and a judge present and the follow up agreement was drawn up based on that conversation.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The whole situation has been a debacle with the lawyer. Error after error. Wouldn't this agreement be a legally binding agreement? What if I don't sign the newly revised agreement?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, if there were additional costs that were left out and unaccounted for, then this would allow them to get out of the original settlement based on the legal doctrine of "mistake". This doctrine basically says someone can't take advantage of another person's calculation error if an agreement was made.

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So if the costs are legitimate, then they would serve to reduce the amount available for distribution and a judge would allow the adjustment downward.

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But you are definitely able to demand that they "show their math" and prove that this is a legitimate expense that should be deducted.

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And for what it is worth, $56K in closing costs would only be reasonable if the house sold for over $900,000 factoring in a 6% realtor commission which is typical...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The house was sold for just over $100K. If the agreement is no longer valid because of a mistake (incompetency), then I'll need to hire an attny to review it all along with a new accounting with supporting documentation which the lawyer never provided.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, then a $56K closing cost is absolutely incomprehensible and can't possibly be accurate.. So yes, you definitely need to demand that they show their math and go over their numbers with a fine toothed comb to figure out how they can make such an error in calculations since it can't be accurate for a $56K closing cost..

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thanks

Barrister