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How long can dispersal of a will be delayed due to stock market related insufficient funds in an estate?

Binghamton, NY |

My dad passed away in Feb of '09. As stated at the top of the will, it is a simple and straightforward will i.e. some Roth accts and some stock for me and my two sisters and 10,000.00 specified for each grandchild in the form of CDs. Apparently, the CD values have now decreased so the will is not being dispersed. But what if they never recover their 10,000.00 value? Surely the will must be dispersed at some point. The atty's office has never been cooperative but rather evasive, rude and inconsistent in their replies.
We finally had to determine merely the status of the will a couple of months ago by calling the Surrogate court ourselves several times and the executrix (my older sister) had to file some docs herself. The will has finally gone through probate.

Attorney Answers 2


Maybe I misunderstood your question. If it's the stock that experienced market loss, it makes sense, especially if the loss means the estate is insolvent (unable to pay the creditors full dollar) or it means there is no residue and the specific bequests (the $10K to each grandchild have to be crammed down.

I have a couple of probates like this involving real estate. Of course, no one can accurately time the market. At some point it will make sense to simply liquidate the estate and pay whatever can be paid. You need an attorney to look at the overall picture (get it from the estate attorney) and advise you. This is a judgment call. If you would get nothing today upon liquidation, why not wait and see if the market comes back?

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I think you may be getting incorrect information and the run around. The prior attorney's comment are right on point as to the Roth and CDs. You need to immediately retain experienced probate counsel to get to the bottom of this because quite frankly your presentation of the facts do not make sense and you need someone to help you.

This is especially the case if the attorney is rude and uncooperative as this is inexcusable behavior that should not be tolerated for one minute. You have rights and you need to muscle up and get an attorney to assert your rights. This is especially the case since it has now been over a year and you have no satisfactory understanding of what is going on with this estate. This is just deplorable conduct by the attorney for the estate.

Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the thumbs up (helpful) tab below and/or designate my answer as best answer. Thanks.
Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law in PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties and services clients in all parts of Pennsylvania. He can be reached at 215-735-2336 or at the email address listed below. He has received a 10.0 rating from AVVO and recently was featured as a 5Star Wealth Manager in the Philadelphia Magazine, November 2009 issue on page 123.
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