The executor of my cousin's estate is an independent paralegal working with an attorney. I do NOT have an attorney. 2 cars, 2 bank accts & some stock. Estate about 450k. About 13 possible heirs in CA and MI. All first cousins. Executor will not give me the final list of heirs. They will not reply to my calls/emails for questions I have a right to know. Have continually lied about the status of probate and I have not been guaranteed reimbursement for bills paid for decedent (2500.00). The 2 cars still not sold. Lots of court extensions.
Can I object to the full Attorney/Executor Commissions (24,300) due to neglect of admin. of the estate; failure to administer estate in a timely manner and withholding information from heirs? Probate MIGHT close in 3 to 4 months. If I hire an attorney now will I have to pay full legal fees (4%, 3%, etc.) for a probate that's close to ending?
Sounds like a mess! Why is the executor an Independent Paralegal (whatever that is) instead of a family member? Why isn't the list of heirs listed with the probate court? Why are they lying about the most important things that are their legal responsibilities?
Yes, you can certainly object.
You should talk with the attorney to determine how much the fees will be... in Michigan, at least, a percentage of the estate-based fee is NOT acceptable... you have to have additional justification.
Consult with counsel...
This is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer. You are not my client. You cannot rely on my response to your question. My response to your question is probably worth exactly what you paid for it. You don't get to sue me for anything. If you'd like to sue me, well you have to hire me first.
The list of heirs can be found on the Petition for Probate which you should have received a copy of when the case was initially filed. In any event, you can obtain a copy of that documents from the court's website or by going to the courthouse and asking the clerk of the court for a copy (for a small fee). In California, probate fees for executors and attorneys is based on a percentage of the gross estate. A two year probate in California is not that extreme, but ignoring reasonable requests for information from beneficiaries/heirs is a breach of the fiduciary duty. A suggest a strongly written demand letter asking for the information and a schedule/timeline for he closure of the estate. If you do not receive a response, file a petition to take over as executor/administrator of the estate and have the paralegal removed.
Possible surcharge may be in order and maybe removal have an attorney review the court file to see if that action is warranted and if so they can help and likely charge his or her fees to the estate.
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