Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Massachusetts

My aunt passed away in May of 2007. She had a local attorney listed in her will as the executor. There were several questionable issues with the selling of her home....it finally sold in November of 2008 for more than $100,000.00 less than originally value. The total estate was about $975,000.00. If distributed about 60% of the estate in April, 2009, another 25% in June, 2009, and we are still waiting on the remainder. When I contacted him...he advised that it takes time to close out the probate issues. ????? I believe he is merely holding on to his golden goose as long as he can, totally unethical !!! He has had the money since November, 2008, and still it goes on.

Asked on 8/22/09, 11:47 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Christopher Vaughn-Martel VAUGHN-MARTEL LAW
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Please accept my condolences for your aunt's passing.

I think you are correct to be concerned. It is possible that the attorney is simply holding back some of the estate to pay any estate or income taxes that might come due. You should ask for a specific reason why the funds cannot be disbursed.

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8/27/09, 11:57 am
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Unless there are issues related to the taxes due the estate or continuing disputes with creditors there is no reason for this long of a delay.

I would ask what are the specific reasons for delaying the closure of the estate. You should also ask why the additional funds are being held and why the balance accept a reasonable reserve have not been disbursed.

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8/27/09, 12:15 pm
Herbert Cooper Law Offices of Jameson & Cooper
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As the previous answers indicate, there is no real reason why the attorney cannot advise you as to what the specific issues are, such as the existence of open issues with creditors, tax liabilities, etcetera. You are certainly entitled to inquire, and sometimes inquiries, even without attorneys writing on your behalf, can spur an attorney to get going. If you feel you need further assistance, please feel free to contact my office.

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8/27/09, 12:21 pm

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