Hello, I was 1 of 4 beneficiaries of a releative's estate that has been closed and the funds were distributed last year. Our attorney was the trustee of my releative's estate. Our attorney at the closing of the my relative's estate was supposed to put $1500.00 in an escrow account for real estate taxes on my relative home and failed to do so. Now the real estate tax bill has been receive for last year and the new owner of the home is looking for the funds. I also paid the attorney $495.00 for the closing. Question, am I still liable for the monies not deposited in the escrow, and should I be able to receive a refund on the attorney fees since the services billed were not the services that were completed?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Are you sure that the buyer did not receive a credit for unpaid taxes? More than likely the buyer was given a credit on the RESPA for the unpaid taxes. Four months ago the tax bill for the second installment of 2012 taxes would not have been out. If a TI was set up then the taxes would be paid automatically by the Title Company and any difference between what was in the TI and the actual tax bill amount would be paid by the buyer at the time the taxes were due. If you have any doubts, as to whether a credit was given or a TI set up, look at your copy of the RESPA or call your Attorney and ask him/her.
Have you checked with your attorney to confirm that the new homeowner is correct? What you describe is one way of handling things, but not the most customary. Usually, prorations are made at closing and are final. If the funds were to be escrowed, are you certain that they are not on deposit with the title company or one of the attorneys. Otherwise, I would say that, yes, the heirs should put up their respective portions. You might ask for a refund or credit on the legal fees, but in my view the attorney did much more for that closing and this error that just requires you to pay what you would have at the time is not enough an issue to warrant his or her losing all compensation for services. He or she should help correct the matter, however, without billing more fees.