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RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 42870
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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I live in DC. My aunt passed in November 2015, I became her

Customer Question

I live in Washington DC. My aunt passed in November 2015, I became her caregiver in 2013. We originally had simply a will, a DNR and a power of attorney (all created in 2006, I'll check to make sure of the date), upon the retirement of her lawyer...we/she got new representation. This was in 2013, we knew things were getting serious and wanted to make sure all of our ducks were in a row. Marie (my aunt) had questions about her home, she wanted to stay in it, and at the time she wanted to sell me the house of a dollar or put my name on the deed, so she wouldn't lose her home and I would have a home. The new lawyers, convinced her/us that these were not good ideas, that instead we should create a trust, it would be easier, but more costly and probate would be avoided. Again, she passed in Novemeber...I contacted the lawyers, their intern looked at the trust, and immediately saw a problem...the deed was not included. One of their lawyers forgot to include a copy of it when creating the documents, they apologized for the error and said he had been let go from the firm...but unfortunately for me, I now had to apply(?) for probate. What we tried to avoid, I am now in. I've read the trust and had no idea that it needed a physical representation of the deed, and of course my aunt didn't either. I am moving forward with probate, but this feels so unfair. And I feel stupid. Is this my only option, is the intent of the document, prepared by my clearly (on that day anyway) incompetent law firm not taken in to account, can't this just be fixed?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you tonight.

I am so sorry for your loss here. Unfortunately the law requires probate here.But the law firm that was involved may be sued by the estate for legal malpractice.The estate may well receive a substantial recovery for all the legal fees and other damages here in this matter.

The estate lawyer and administrator may need to locate a second malpractice lawyer to send demand letter and sue here.But you cannot undo the need for probate.Under DC law here if the title wasn't transferred into the trust it must pass under the laws of intestacy to the legal heirs here under the law.But please consider a legal malpractice claim on behalf of the estate.

I appreciate the chance to help you tonight Thanks again.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

You have 3 years here from the date of the malpractice to sue.

Legal Malpractice, 3 years

D.C. Code § 12-301(8)

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

Here is a malpractice lawyer here, as administrator you should pursue this for the estate.It might be a substantial recovery.

Thanks again , please let me know if you have more follow up.If you can 5 star rate it is much appreciated.

Expert:  RayAnswers replied 1 year ago.

You are so welcome.I wish you the best here.

If you can 5 star rate it is much appreciated.