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  1. #1
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Disagreement Over Executor and Legal Fees

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: CA

    Four heirs. Will names two of the heirs co-executors. Will/estate was never probated. Approximately $120K in assets held by one of the heirs who wanted a co-executor fee. Other three heirs objected because the will/estate was never probated. Heir with the assets hired an attorney to extract an executor fee from the estate. Attorney claims to represent the estate even though the other three heirs do not recognize the attorney as such nor did they sign anything. To break the logjam, the three heirs offered to pay the heir with the attorney an amount that is approximately equal to a co-executor fee plus legal expenses. The attorney wants the estate to pick up all his fees in addition to the aforementioned payment. Attorney is threatening to open up probate if the other three heirs do not agree to his demands.

    Seems ridiculous. Can an attorney not recognized by the majority of the heirs actually open up probate on his own because of the above circumstances?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Probate Attorney Threat to Open Probate

    What does the heir who hired this attorney has to say?
    It sounds like he is not paying his lawyer the remaining legal fee .
    So now the lawyer is a creditor of the estate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    544

    Default Re: Disagreement Over Executor and Legal Fees

    And ...

    What does this mean? "Held?"

    Quote Quoting tealcorona
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    Approximately $120K in assets held by one of the heirs...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Probate Attorney Threat to Open Probate

    Quote Quoting jsmith281
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    What does the heir who hired this attorney has to say?
    It sounds like he is not paying his lawyer the remaining legal fee .
    So now the lawyer is a creditor of the estate.
    It sound more like he retained the attorney in his capacity as co-executor. I don't want to be in the position of guessing, though.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Probate Attorney Threat to Open Probate

    To break the logjam, the three heirs offered to pay the heir with the attorney an amount that is approximately equal to a co-executor fee plus legal expenses. The attorney wants the estate to pick up all his fees
    3/4 of his fee is not the whole enchillada,he wants the remaining 1/4 fee.May be the coexecutor does not believe his attorney deserve the whole enchillada,may be he needs the money more than his attorney.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    8

    Default Re: Probate Attorney Threat to Open Probate

    1) There are no co-executors because the will was not probated.
    2) The heir with the attorney has all the funds in a bank deposit account. The other 3 heirs have never seen proof of the account nor any document that verifies the amount. Only info received is by e-mail communication. Attorney who claims to represent the estate will not supply this info even though it has been requested by the 3 heirs several times.
    3) Attorney is threatening to open up probate because the the three heirs do not recognize him as an attorney for the estate. They maintain the attorney was hired by the single heir controlling the funds and that person is responsible for the attorney's fees.

    Question. Can a probate attorney, under the above mentioned circumstances, unilaterally open up probate on an estate under the guise that his fees must be paid for by the estate?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Probate Attorney Threat to Open Probate

    Quote Quoting tealcorona
    View Post
    1) There are no co-executors because the will was not probated.
    You referenced the two as co-executors. I assumed you would be able to keep up with the discussion, and that it was pretty obvious we were all speaking of people designated by the estate plan as co-executors in the event of probate. Forgive me if I confused you.

    I expect that the other (yet to be appointed) co-executor knows how to find his way to the probate court, should he want to open an estate and have these issues resolved by a probate judge. As you've been told, if you cannot come to an agreement with the co-executor who holds the funds, that's where this will end up anyway.

    Any creditor of an estate can open a probate estate to try to collect a debt owed by the estate. But I expect that if this attorney opens an estate it will be at the instruction of your sibling, the (yet to be appointed) co-executor who retained him.

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