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Posted by Liz, a Estate Planning client, Flag
I contacted Frank Leontitsis after my father’s death in January of 2011. My father had very little in the way of worldly goods, but he did have a house, a car, some savings and bills that would need attending to when he was gone. During what turned out to be one of my last visits, Dad and I visited a lawyer and drew up a standard will--I was made executor (I had stayed closer than my other siblings) and my siblings were all part of the will. It seemed pretty cut and dried. After my father passed, and all of the funeral arrangements had been taken care of, I started contacting various entities about winding down my fathers "estate". I quickly found out that my "will" was nothing more than paper and I needed help so I contacted the lawyer who drew up the will and he failed to call me back. Feeling nervous about being the executor of the will I thought "how can I find out what's going on?" And, I live out of state. So, I went on-line and looked for lawyers who work with Estate Planning near where my dad had lived and found Frank Leontitsis. I called Frank and started talking about my issues and Frank talked to me for almost an hour and gave me wonderful advice and direction about how to proceed. One of the issues was the fact that no one was taking the will as proof of my executorship...., what was I supposed to do? Frank and I talked about what it would mean for me to hire him as my attorney in this case, how long it might take to get things settled and the fact that if I just let everything go, that eventually, the state of Florida would step in and figure things out...again, there was so little money involved and so many hassles to take care of--did I really want to take that on? I could just walk away. (I should note that during my past visits my dad and I had gone through all his personal belongings and we had presented to the other family members what mementos he wanted them to have.) My brothers and sisters told me to just let it go, but I just had a feeling that I needed to "see things through", so I hired Frank to help me through the murky mess that is "not very well planned estate-planning." The first thing Frank found out was that my will had been superseded by another will that included my dad’s caregiver! That was now the "real" will. And I was still the Personal Representative! First, Frank and I explored the reality that my dad had put his caregiver, and his wife, on the will and Frank advised me to talk to an Elder Abuse lawyer just in case we might be able to get the will voided. After that discussion I decided it would be too hard to fight that battle from St Louis, and the caregiver had been a friend of Dads, so the water got very murky. After that Frank and I tackled the issues of the estate with vigor with Frank handling the details, explaining the law to me and helping me through this terrible time. Frank went out of his way, on many occasions, to help me through this. I recall one instance where Frank called the reverse mortgage company (don't ask) explaining to them that in the state of Florida I WAS the executor of the will, even though it's called Personal Representative. Frank helped me find someone to help me sell my dad's reverse mortgaged house (even though he was not hired for the real estate portion on this will.) Frank also took care of finding my dad's car, which went missing, and found a fantastic car dealership who would buy it for the estate....And Frank even had to deal with the "caregiver", the unsavory fellow that caused 99% of my problems! I get choked up just thinking about it. Frank was wonderful. He helped me through the enormous amount of paperwork, kept me sane when things got held up in court or with banks and negotiated bills down for me. I was glad when it was all over, and I couldn't have done any of it without Frank.