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What can be done when an "executor" of a will, selfishly gathers all the assets for themself and lies about policies, accounts,

Orlando, FL |

When it has been willed for the home of the deseased to be sold, however the executor choses to secretly rent out the home and keep all the proceeds to herself because the other three people included in the will, live out of state and states that the deseased had a lot less money in their accounts than actually existed, what can we do do disclose her criminal behavior. I am indigent and my brother is mentally ill. We have been taken advantage of by our neice whom my father had raised and trusted, only to betray his confidence. Can we retain an attorney on a "contingency"basis?

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Attorney answers 3


There is no prohibition against an attorney taking these types of cases on a contingency fee basis; however, you would need to find such an attorney. I have taught at a seminar where another attorney spoke. He is an excellent attorney but said that he never takes a contested probate on a contingency fee basis unless he believes his contingency fee is going to be substantial. There is a lot of work involved. Good luck.

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I can't speak to the merits of the case without reviewing the file, but I can tell you that most attorneys don't handle cases like this on a contingency basis unless (a) they believe you have a solid claim and (b) an inventory has been filed to show some indication of the value of the case. When it comes to probate matters, contingency cases are the exception, not the rule (at least in my experience).

Don't take anything written here as legal advice.I am happy to offer my thoughts free of charge, and I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about representing you. Please be aware, though, that at this point we have not established an attorney-client relationship. An attorney client relationship requires me to agree in writing to represent you. Unless that happens, you shouldn’t take anything I say to be legal advice or make any decisions based on it.


I agree with my colleagues. You have a lot of red flags and serious concerns. However, the biggest challenge you face is that you need a great deal of evidence to prove your case. This is going to require a very good attorney, as well, because you cannot do this on your own. I would gather all of the evidence that you have and at least meet with an attorney to discuss this in more detail. The attorney should be able to give you a much better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and whether or not it is worth pursuing.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.