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What are the responsibilities of an estate attorney retained by an executor?

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What are the responsibilities of an estate attorney retained by an executor?

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

In general, the attorney is responsible for making sure that the executor follows the probate code and administers the estate in such a way that he or she will not incur any personal liability. It is possible for a person who is familiar with probate to handle an estate without representation by an attorney. Part of the problem, however, is that court personnel are not permitted to give any legal advice. The executor is also potentially personally liable for any mistakes that are made. It is nice to know that there is someone else double-checking and overseeing your work to make sure that that does not happen.

James Frederick

Asker

Posted

What if the executor doesn't follow the probate code? Does the attorney have an obligation to report the executor to the interested parties of the estate?

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

It depends. If the PR intends to violate the code for any reason, it is usually best to get court approval, ahead of time. But there are times when there are minor violations and it is no big deal. It just depends on the circumstances. There have been occasions, one in particular, where I felt compelled to report my own client to the court. It does not happen often. Usually, the attorney is there to protect and prevent that kind of situation.

Asker

Posted

This PR was unemployed at the time she was named PR and so the interested parties AND the estate attorney explained that this was not a paid position and that she would be reimbursed for "reasonable expenses" . She was told that if she could not support herself while taking on this role that she had the right to rescind. At the end of one calendar year, she had written from the estate checking account checks for personal loans, expenses, utilitiy bills, car insurance, etc. for her apartment in TX as well as living expenses in AZ. These expenses totalled $30K+ . None of her duties as PR were accomplished after one year and she voluntarily stepped down. We are hopeful that now that this has come to light, we can recoup some of those much needed funds to keep the estate afloat. Thank you for your response. ---- Avvo <email@mail5.avvo.com> wrote: > To view this email as a web page, go to the link below, or copy and paste it into your browser's address window. http://click.mail5.avvo.com/?qs=4ee39303b696c3c683f0faf4d0e7fef7314a72110c2fdc3f17349484b239249703d777c53b85bec4 Someone has commented on your comment to question:What are the responsibilities of an estate attorney retained by an executor? > > Comment: > It depends. If the PR intends to violate the code for any reason, it is usually best to get court approval, ahead of time. But there are times when there are minor violations and it is no big deal. It just depends on the circumstances. There have been occasions, one in particular, where I felt compelled to report my own client to the court. It does not happen often. Usually, the attorney is there to protect and prevent that kind of situation. > > View Comment: > http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/what-are-the-responsibilities-of-an-estate-attorne-129160.html?post_answer_id=163229&post_id=110933#answer_163229?utm_source=notification&utm_medium=email&utm_content=comment_notify&utm_campaign=view_comment > > Or, reply to this email to add an additional comment. > > Thanks for participating on Avvo, > > The Avvo Team >

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

Ouch. That is certainly not supposed to happen. In the case that the attorney knew about it, he or she should have reported that to the court. Generally, a PR IS entitled to compensation, so there *may* be an offset for some of what she took. The toughest part of this may be collecting from her. She *could* go to jail for what she did, but that is not going to get money back for the estate. Was there a surety bond? If so, that might be a source to recover the funds.

Asker

Posted

I'll look into a surety bond...thank you. I would hate to see anyone go to jail for this, but it is stealing plain and simple. Thank you for your response. ---- Avvo <email@mail5.avvo.com> wrote: > To view this email as a web page, go to the link below, or copy and paste it into your browser's address window. http://click.mail5.avvo.com/?qs=03f65660e12dd97c2036109dfaefa505c9ed61ae30bc23372acc879774779ac3fda387d7a80fcb55 Someone has commented on your comment to question:What are the responsibilities of an estate attorney retained by an executor? > > Comment: > Ouch. That is certainly not supposed to happen. In the case that the attorney knew about it, he or she should have reported that to the court. Generally, a PR IS entitled to compensation, so there *may* be an offset for some of what she took. > <br/>The toughest part of this may be collecting from her. She *could* go to jail for what she did, but that is not going to get money back for the estate. Was there a surety bond? If so, that might be a source to recover the funds. > > View Comment: > http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/what-are-the-responsibilities-of-an-estate-attorne-129160.html?post_answer_id=163229&post_id=111011#answer_163229?utm_source=notification&utm_medium=email&utm_content=comment_notify&utm_campaign=view_comment > > Or, reply to this email to add an additional comment. > > Thanks for participating on Avvo, > > The Avvo Team >

Posted

Please note that I am licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I would add that the role played by the attorney for the executor is flexible and can depend upon the sophistication and level of involvement of the executor. In other words, the attorney can do as little or as much as is needed by the executor.

The cost of an attorney for the executor is considered an expense of the estate. Probating the estate of a loved-one can be very difficult, time consuming, and paper-intensive. There are very specific rules and procedures that must be followed in order to carry out one's duties as executor.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can be of any assistance to you in this difficult time.