I was named PR of my grandmothers estate. Since her death I have found out that my aunt who had been caring for her spent all of grandma's money (approx $225,000) and nothing is left but debt. All of the heirs agree that we need to hire an attorney but none of us can afford it at this time. Can I sell some assets prior to initiating the probate process? As it stands now there isn't even enough $ to pay the filing fees.
Estate Planning Attorney
First, MN will not allow for attorneys to take a percentage of the estate. Second, to answer your question, you can pay the attorney out of the estate. So long as they have a good contract with you, they should be able to collect their fees, so long as there is enough assets in the estate left. Many attorneys would shy away from this, as from your post, it appears there is nothing left in the estate and what you are really doing is thinking about recovering from someone under a theory of misuse of estate funds. You should look for an estate litigating attorney, but I think you will have to find some money to hire one, as there isn't any readily available to pay him out of the estate.
It depends on what kind of assets. If it is property that requires a transfer of title, (e.g. real property, securities or a car) it will be difficult to sell since you cannot show that titile is in your name. If it is personal property you probably can sell. You might consider offering an attorney some kind of contingent fee deal where he/she would get a percentage rather than a flat fee.
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship