How long should it take to settle estate once house is sold? Is it common to have entire estate lost to legal fees?

Asked about 3 years ago - Oak Ridge, NJ

We've already spent 75,000 in legal fees over five months in executor battles. Don't see why it should not now be settled fast, but attorneys say it will takes months more. How could the estate not be completely lost to attorney fees?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Steven Everett Savage

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Haber's comments. You have not provided enough information.

    Any answers given here do not indicate the existence of an attorney-client relationship between you and me, or... more
  2. Edward Joseph Smeltzer II

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . A NJ estate can typically be administered in 12 to 24 months from the date of death assuming an Executor is appointed within the first two months after death. Please note this is a very rough estimate and the particular facts of the estate you're involved in could lead to a different estimate. Furthermore if your "Executor Battles" delayed the appointment of an executor there may be additional delays since the gathering and valuing of the assets could not begin until an Executor was in place. If you had counsel in these "Executor Battles" he/she should be able to explain in detail the timeline of a typical estate and how your proceedings may impact that timeline. If your attorney cannot answer such questions, you may need a new attorney.

    If you were not represented in the prior proceedings you may want to retain counsel of your own just so you have: 1) a professional viewpoint of what's going on in the estate; and 2) peace of mind knowing that your interests are being protected.

    Very truly yours,

    Ed Smeltzer

    P.S. — If you found this answer helpful, please click the “Mark as good answer” button below.
    Law Office of Edward J. Smeltzer II
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    This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is... more
  3. Michael S. Haber


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . As much as I'd like to respond specifically and in great detail, you have provide almost no detail, other than that you've spent quite a lot in legal fees. I have no idea how large an estate it is that you are referring to, whether the assets create any complications, and what the issues are in the proceedings in which you've been involved.

    Litigation tends to be expensive; that's primarily because litigation takes on a life of its own.

    Good luck to you.

    Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are... more
  4. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Since you currently have an attorney, it is unethical for anyone at this forum to comment about your situation. Sorry.

    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 . For further tax advice visit his website at . and blog at <>

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia... more

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