Estate probated in 1977-beneficiary suing executor in 2009?

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Latest post 07-01-2009 9:01 AM by Drew. 4 replies.
  • 06-30-2009 6:59 PM

    • Dr. C
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    Estate probated in 1977-beneficiary suing executor in 2009?

    Sorry state of affairs.  Brother and sister in their nineties.  Mother died 32 years ago. Sister receives letter from brother's attorney last week claiming that: 1) Sister improperly acted as sole executor when brother and another brother (deceased) were ,in fact, co-executors and made all the decisions; 2) Brothers did not receive executor's fee and sister must pay them now to brother and deceased brother's heirs; 3) Sister must produce documentation that she paid him his 1/3 share of the estate (she did); 4) Sister must produce documentation that she and her husband, lawyer for the estate, handled all finances properly 5) She must pay brother all monies due to him from the estate.  The victim of this charge is unable and unwilling to search through all the records and document what she did.  The mother had a business and there was a huge amount of work to close it out.  She did this alone because her brothers were busy with careers and new wives and such and not interested in spending months paying bills, honoring contracts, distributing payments.  Her husband was not a lawyer for the estate.  She cannot find the will.  Brother and sister were best friends for most of 90 years, but brother's current and much younger wife is mentally ill and paranoid and controls all access to him.  She often imagines people are stealing from her.  Brother is very ill and weak, but apparently agreed to letter from attorney instigated by his wife.  The will was probated correctly and all.  Is it not the case that there must have been a final filing with the state to close out the estate?  Does the five-year NYS statute of limitations apply?  Brother's lawyer has threatened legal action if sister does not produce documentation. Can he do that?  Isn't the lawyer being irresponsible in threatening action if  the statute of limitations applies? Can we do anything to him for making threats and false allegations injurious to sister's fragile health?  In addition, brother's current wife believes that sister has potentially valuable property of brother's 1st wife whom he divorced 65 years ago.  1st wife's kids (70 years old) actually have it or sold it.  We think the current wife's delusion that this property belongs to her husband's estate, her belief that sister-in=law has it, and her wish to get this valuable property is behind the threats. 

  • 06-30-2009 7:19 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
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    Re: Estate probated in 1977-beneficiary suing executor in 20

    I would lay odds that disgruntled heirs, etc., needed to  bring an action before the appropriate probate/surrogate's court long before now.

    Until she actually gets sued, she ignores them.    When she does receive a summons, she retains a probate/estate attorney to prepare the defense.

    Much of the documentation that she needs probably is on file with the surrogate court in question.  She might want to quietly obtain a copy of the old case file, which should have the will.  

  • 06-30-2009 7:42 PM In reply to

    • Dr. C
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    Re: Estate probated in 1977-beneficiary suing executor in 20

    Thanks, Kivi.  I think you are right.  I have wasted days trying to write a reply to the attorney that will just clear up the facts, but I always get carried away.  Should we just drop it?  Wait, hang tough? Because it is all so much bluff.  That is what you say and it sounds good. Just don't know if I can shut up.  I at least want to clear up the first wife's property issue that is driving the whole thing.  It is so hurtful to sister.  When you live into your 90's you have so few surviving friends of your own generation, and brother was one of a tiny number.  They tried to involve the deceased brother's children, and they came roaring through with support for their aunt (whom I called "sister"). 

    I would love to get my hands on the probate file.  Sister is housebound and does not live in the city.  I do, and can get down to Chambers St.  Could I at least look at the file there?  Must be archived, but maybe on microfiche.  I understand copying is very expensive. Is this doable -- does anyone know how this all works?  The mother lived in Manhattan (NY County).  Probated there.  I am a member of the family and can get sister's ID if necessary.

  • 06-30-2009 8:22 PM In reply to

    Re: Estate probated in 1977-beneficiary suing executor in 20

    Anybody can pay a lawyer 100 bucks to write a letter.

    Frankly, if it was me I'd just tell these people to pound sand and stop talking to them. There's no reason for you to do anything.

    If they sue, you get a lawyer and defend.

    If they don't sue, you've saved yourself a lot of aggravation by ignoring them.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 07-01-2009 9:01 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
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    Re: Estate probated in 1977-beneficiary suing executor in 20...

    Caution---anything you write to enemy and his attorney can and will be preverted against you---you are often better off to say little or nothing........



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