Legal Question in Legal Malpractice in Virginia

My mother passed away last March. Multiple questions to the attorney were never answered by her. She never gave notice that we had the right to see an inventory, and checked off that none of us had requested to see the inventory when she submitted to the local court. She suddenly announced the house (she valued and 106K) was going to be sold at auction. When asked if there was a bottom price set she said no. When asked if it was in line with her fiduciary duty to put the entire 106K at risk if few showed up and only offered 20K or less, she said, "None of you live here and understand how well real property sells at auction. I am not trying to dictate anything, but I do know that this is the best way to maximize ... assets. The auction of real property is not a bargain basement sale. I have seen many properties sell for more than the expected price. This is a sellers market now. As ... asked, what is the difference in cost of selling the personal property with the real property versus selling the real property on the market and hauling off the personal property to an auction house. HUGE. Most auction houses will not accept most of the personal property, but it will sell well with the house." Mind you, she priced the personal assests at 750 dollars. The home is in Galax Virginia, a small appalachian town. There is no protection from the sale being a bust. As to the personal property, we've been asking for a Zoom to see the contents since last summer. She finally arranged one and it had to be aborted. She turned off my camera and couldn't turn it back on, one niece kept having her view cut off, another niece was muted by the host and the host could neither unmute her or turn my canera back on or share the hosting duties, She kept saying "I don't work with Zoom." The distress she has caused comes from ignoring emails and phone calls, not giving the inventory until I researched and told her it was required by law, being abrupt with announcement of auction with no reserve price safeguards, refusing to put any precious items in storage til people have time to look through them, being incompetent with Zoom, etc. Does she have the right to have an absolute auction and put property at that much risk? (Will does give her right to sell property at her discretion). Is there an ethics violation. Is this getting to the level of malpractice?

Asked on 2/06/21, 4:14 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Daniel Press Chung & Press, P.C.

You need to consult with an actual lawyer here. Is this person the executor under the will or the lawyer for the executor?

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Answered on 2/06/21, 4:57 am

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