Author Topic: Ever hired an estate attorney for administration?  (Read 617 times)

chasesfish

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Ever hired an estate attorney for administration?
« on: December 31, 2020, 07:14:30 AM »
I'm looking for advice:

My dad recently passed away and the estate situation is both small but messy.  I'm having to hire an attorney to administer the estate, both because I need a third party to respond to any challenges and because...well I'm financially independent and I'd rather outsource a bunch of this instead of give up my hard earned time dealing with it.

Has anyone had to go through this process?  What do you recommend?  Any lessons you learned that you would do differently after the fact?

Happy to provide a little more detail if needed.

Sibley

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Re: Ever hired an estate attorney for administration?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2020, 08:47:33 AM »
Based on reading the inheritance thread, I would not use an attorney that knows any of the interested parties socially or has extensive business history with them. If it's a small town, pick a lawyer from a few towns over.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Ever hired an estate attorney for administration?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2020, 09:08:26 AM »
With my dad's estate, we had his accountant hired to help out. Hadn't realized it at the time but he specialized in estates/taxes, so was very helpful and streamlined the entire process.

When my maternal grandmother died, my mom was the executrix and hired both an estate attorney an a professional mediator to sit with some of the family members that were attempting to derail property distribution and made sure things were fairly divided. It was such a mess with nasty relatives causing trouble. The lawyer was the same that grandmother used for her will, extremely well-respected in her town, and they hired the mediator for my mom.


I absolutely would recommend hiring a professional (attorney/accountant/whatever needed) if you can do so. Dealing with death/loss is hard enough without adding a messy estate to settle. This is both a relief to have someone else to handle things for you and know they'll handle them correctly, and also a protection from legal challenges now and down the road.

I am very sorry for your loss.

Catbert

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Re: Ever hired an estate attorney for administration?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2020, 10:57:49 AM »
Make sure the attorney knows who the executor is, i.e., you.  And hope your dad didn't appoint "co-executors".  A relative named all 3 of his children as executors, you know, to be fair.  When there was a dispute over the family vacation home two different executors were running to the attorney separately to get answers to biased questions.  Ran up the bill quite a bit.

reeshau

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Re: Ever hired an estate attorney for administration?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2020, 11:17:42 AM »
How familiar are you with your Dad's wishes, as expressed in the will or otherwise?  My first inclination would be to approach the lawyer who wrote up his will.  Nobody will be more familiar with the situation than them.  (although it could be a shallow understanding, if it ended up with a messy situation)  He may even have drafts / notes / supporting documents from your Dad that they used in the process.  If that person seems adequate to you, I would think the familiarity would trump a lot of other attributes.

chasesfish

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Re: Ever hired an estate attorney for administration?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2020, 11:40:09 AM »
Good stuff so far.

I kind of know what type of attorney to look for, worked close enough with my wealth management friends at old employer and got some advice.  I found a specialist in the state who's firm also has a satellite office in the small town for the paperwork to be filed.

My dad passed most things via beneficiary designation, so there's only 1/5th of the (not so large) estate to deal with. 

He had three adult children and a third wife who he was separated from at the time of death.  She's the mom to one of the adult children and that adult child has no relationship with the mom (and rightfully so).

The painful issues are:
- We believe he revoked his last Will by destroying it
- We found one from 1996 to pursue using (he was married but separated from her at that point too)
- The estranged spouse can contest for at least 1/3rd of the total estate, which is her legal entitlement in the state. 

Right now the estranged spouse is sitting closer to 1/2 of the total estate but is giving all indications of causing problems.  Unfortunately abusers are going to abuse and the target of her abuse (my dad) decided to escape her abuse in a final and permanent way.

I know his wishes with what I'm the beneficiary on.  It's really about closing the estate and dealing with the residual value of the estate, mainly property sales, then splitting those among the the rightful parties without subjecting anyone to her abuse.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 11:45:14 AM by chasesfish »

MayDay

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Re: Ever hired an estate attorney for administration?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2020, 12:28:30 PM »
That stinks.

When my grandparents became incapacitated and died it was messy. Their total estate was maybe 140k to start, and worked it's way down as my grandma was in a nursing home with dementia. I think it ended at around 70k when she died. 7 siblings so not a whole lot of money each. The 2 or 3 sane siblings (one of who was the executor and medical decision maker, eventually hired a lawyer because the problem siblings wouldn't listen or cooperate. The lawyer didn't really say to do anything different than they were already trying to do, but the lawyer handled communication and was the neutral deliverer or information.