Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New York

improper handling of estate

I am very unhappy with the handling of my mothers estate, by both the executors nad the attorney. Do I have any recourse? My mother passed away 3 yrs. ago. There still has been no inventory of assests filed. Trust funds were sey up for each grandchild, seven of these trusts have been paid out, with no one recieving a formal accounting. Neither of the executors/trustees are on speaking terms with the rest of the family. I hired an attorney to help me, but the lawyer for the estate never responded to any of his letters. Because the trust for my children is under $5000.00 my attorney did not wish to continue. He wasn't getting any responses anyway, I don't blame him. What recourse might I have at this point? I do not wish to see these 2 oversee the trusts for my children as they are all minors and the will states that the trusts do not dissolve until the youngest of my kids turns 25, that's not for another 22 years.I will do anything at this point, even if I have to do all the research myself, and try to file anything with surrogate court on my own. thank you.

Asked on 7/12/04, 1:16 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Walter LeVine Walter D. LeVine, Esq.
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Re: improper handling of estate

You have the right to an accounting, unless your involvement was limited to a specific amount, in which case if you received what you or your children were entitled to receive that ends your involvement. If you or your children were entitled to a percentage of the estate, you are entitled to an accounting, so you can verify what you are entitled to receive. Having made demand, you can go through the Surrogate's Court to get the accounting. You will need to sue the executor and the attorney for failure to provide it. You need to verify your entitlement to it and the refusal to give it to you. Since I haven't seen the Will, I do not know if you get a percentage or only a specific amount, and this is important to your right to sue. You could also file an ethics complaint with the local bar association against the attorney for the estate. Contact me if you need more information (973-377-3313).

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7/12/04, 1:40 pm
Brenda Mattar Mattar & D'Agostino, LLP
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Re: improper handling of estate

You may want to write a letter to the Surrogate's Court and request that the Estate be scheduled for a status report on the Court's calandar.

You may also wish to retain another attorney to compel the attorney and executor to file an accounting with the Court.

Depending on how the Will is written, you may be able to have the Court release the funds held in Trust for your children to you, because the amount held in Trust is less than $10,000.

Please contact me at (716)856-4022 for mor information. Thank you.

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7/12/04, 4:48 pm

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