Testator made me executor in both 1998, 2010 Wills. Only difference in Wills is new Will she disinherited her spouse for abandonment, mental cruelty, domestic violence, etc. 2011 she sustained major injuries in car accident. Spouse refused to care for her, pay nurses, meds (he has $$$, didn't want to) He also continued to abuse her while she was bedbound & dying. Called her lawyer few times to inform him what happened, to find out about her legal docs. He told me that she had gone to see him re spousal beatings, abuse, etc. Later, found new Will by diff atty. Called fmr attny, told him about new Will, spousal disinheritance. Atty said he wouldn't speak w/spouse, he's not executor. BUT! later spouse paid atty,got copy fmr Will. He's suing family, me (atty fees, suit $$$$)says new Will fraud
Elder Law Attorney
I agree with the prior answer that you should consult a local attorney experienced in estates. However, I feel the prior answer is overly restrictive regarding potential claims against the former attorney. While it isn't clear from your question as to whether you would have a good claim against the former attorney, an executor can bring claims against a decedent's former attorney under certain circumstances. Lawrence Friedman, lawyer, Master of Laws in Taxation from N.Y.U. School of law and Member Board of Consultors of New Jersey State Bar Association Real Estate, Trusts & Estates Law Section; SpecialNeedsNJ.com
Ethics / Professional Responsibility Lawyer
You are attempting to summarize a complex fact situation and I some facts are unclear to me. If I understand correctly, you are the executor, you offered the last Will into probate, and the spouse who was disinherited is contesting the Will. Such cases are very fact dependent. You need an attorney who is familiar with Surrogate's practice in the county where the Will was offered for probate, and who knows how to litigate. If you don't already have a lawyer, our firm handles such matters all the time. I don't quite understand your issue with the testator's former attorney. I can only tell you that the potential liability of an attorney for bungling a Will is very limited.
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Mr Brophy offers sound advice. You need to retain an estate litigation attorney immediately. Not really sure what the former attorney did that was wrong based on your facts. And, the husband's allegation of fraud would not seem valid if he was abusing her. Get an estates litigation attorney now. Do this today.
You may be well served to talk with Mr. Brophy as he is an exeperienced and knowledgeable NY estates attorney.
Hope this helps.
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