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Can you sue an executor of an estate that has grossly mishandled the selling of assets?

Memphis, TN |

I recently found out that my cousin left me 25% of some very valuable land. It was valued at 1.6 million 6 years ago. I was never notified by the attorneys that I was in the will. It just happened that I found out and then started checking into things and found out that very shortly after the will was probated, the executor sold the land for 134,000. There are 4 arces that are very valuable. The land next to it is on the market now for 450,000 an acre. I found no information that the land was publicly listed. It shows on the register of sale that a contract and a closing happened in two days. There is something very wrong here. My cousin was so proud of this property.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Well - pretty much anyone can sue anyone else anymore. However, before you spend the big bucks with the filing of a lawsuit I suggest that you hire an attorney in the area that the probate estate was opened. You may want to look to www.naela.org to find a probate attorney.

    Through the attorney you need to gather a lot more information and you should do so quickly to insure that you don't lose any rights that you may have.

    Good Luck!

    Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his answers to AVVO inquiries are based on his understanding of Illinois law only. His answers are for general information about perceived legal issues within this question only and no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to extend any right of confidentiality between you and Mr. Smolinski, to constitute legal advice, or create an attorney/client or other contractual relationship. An attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement including an evaluation of the specific legal problem and review of all the facts and documents at issue. We try to insure the accuracy of this information, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The reader should never assume that this information applies to his or her specific situation or constitutes legal advice. Therefore, please consult competent counsel that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.


  2. If the numbers are as you say, you have a legitimate concern. You need to get with an estates litigation attorney right away to go over all the facts. Time is of the essence here so do not wait. It is very weird that you were not contacted if you are a beneficiary, but there may be reasons, such as them not having your address. In any event, you need to lawyer up immediately.

    Hope this helps.

    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website for more tax, estate and business articles is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.


  3. Having practiced in Shelby County, you're likely looking at some kind of accounting action that would be heard before the Chancery Court. The lack of notification to you is very troubling, and the idea that this property was sold in two days shows some sort of prearrangement in my view. Chances are the executor may be bonded, which could provide some avenue for relief.

    Happy to discuss further.

    Best,

    Bob

    The foregoing is not legal advice nor is it in any manner whatsoever meant to create or impute an attorney/client relationship.


  4. My first suggestion is to contact a probate lawyer in the area (you didn't mention where the property was located) as soon as possible. That lawyer will be able to review the Probate file and determine how things were or were not done.

    You should have been notified of the opening of the probate if you were an heir to any property in the Estate. The Probate Clerk's records will let you see whether or not a notice was sent (and what address was used). There are a number of possibilities for how this was done. You might also want to check the Register of Deed's office and see how the deed to the property was, before and after this transfer.

    Timely action now that you know is very important. In Tennessee a Court will kick you out if you "sleep on your rights" and do not take steps to legally address your rights (it's called Laches).

    Seek out counsel immediately.

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