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STUCK

Can't get lawyer to proceed with my case

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  • What can I do to get my lawyer to proceed with my case? 6 months ago, he said to pay him $1500 and he would proceed with the case. I paid him within 7 days of his request.  I have given him all the information he has requested in a timely manner. When I ask him about the court date, he requests more info from me.  Or he tells me that he needs to mail  another family member to get a signed statement.  I looked up on line about submitting a grievance to the Texas bar association and they say they can not do anything to make him proceed. I have told him twice that there is an urgency to getting the court date and proceedings going. This whole process has been going on for more than 1 and a half years.
  • Also he has never given me a statement regarding the account....such as money paid and what he has done for what I have paid. Should I be concerned that he has not provided a statement of the account?

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What's up with the microscopic font?

 

36 minutes ago, STUCK said:

What can I do to get my lawyer to proceed with my case?

 

What does "proceed with my case" mean?  What sort of case?

 

 

36 minutes ago, STUCK said:

When I ask him about the court date, he requests more info from me.

 

What court date?  Also, lawyers request info from their clients all the time.  It's part of the job.

 

 

37 minutes ago, STUCK said:

Or he tells me that he needs to mail  another family member to get a signed statement.

 

Do you have reason to believe that's not true?

 

 

38 minutes ago, STUCK said:

Also he has never given me a statement regarding the account....such as money paid and what he has done for what I have paid. Should I be concerned that he has not provided a statement of the account?

 

No way of knowing without knowing something about the case and the terms of your fee agreement.

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What type of legal case is this--probate or something else?

 

Ask the family member if this attorney ever got a signed statement.

 

Why would you wait one and a half years with this situation?  If you can afford to hire another attorney, you should do so, and fire the other one only if your second attorney advises you to do so.

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My mother passed away 15 years ago and she had no will. I am trying to get her house in my name, since I have been living in the house for the past 10 years...paid the taxes and maintained the house since then. I have provided the names and addresses of all potential heirs. I have 2 sisters and they have signed a letter giving me the house. I have 2 brothers, both deceased. Their children will not sign the letter giving me the house, so my lawyer is supposed to be getting a court date to have my nieces and nephews to come and claim their portion of the inheritance. Sorry about not knowing all the legal terminology. I have tried to explain it as best as I can.

 

I don't understand why my lawyer can't ask for everything he needs and get this process going. I have provided him my mother's death certificate, addresses of my nieces and nephews, addresses of 2 people who can verify that my mother had actually lived in the house (at the time of her death, she was living with my sister in a different county and died in that county).

I have also provided him with a family tree because I have a large family and he needed to know whose child belonged to each brother.  I have written 3 family trees for him. He asked for the address of one niece who has a lawyer and her lawyer wrote a letter stating--contact the lawyer and leave the niece alone. He should have all this info in some sort of file.

 

It's not that I don't believe everything he needs is necessary, but why can't he ask for everything and proceed? This has been going on for more than 1 year and still no court date.

 

Why did I wait so long to get this process going? (you might ask). My sister said mother had a will. Sister kept insisting that she had the will in her house, but could never find it. Sister said she was looking for it, said she had found it once, but could never produce the will. Sister had power of attorney and found that document...but still insists mom had a will, but has not found it.

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It appears that no one bothered to properly probate her estate at the time of her death.  To fix this so far after the fact is not something that can be resolved in a few months.  I suggest you request a meeting with the lawyer to discuss how things will proceed and a realistic timetable.

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Thank you for your responses. Actually the lawyer has never given me any specific time table as to how long he thinks it will take. I am getting frustrated because he keeps asking for more info piece by piece. I am considering consulting another lawyer, but I don't want to start at "square 1" and have to wait for another lawyer to get a court date to probate her estate. And I did all the work getting addresses for the nieces and nephews to expedite the process, since we have lost track of them through the years.

 

And my sister still has not received the letter to verify that all of mother's money was distributed to her children shortly after she died. She was preceded in death by her husband.

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Are we to assume that your mother was a widow and that there is no surviving husband?

 

What is the value of this home if it were to be sold?  If it is sold, any outstanding debts from your mother's estate will need to be paid first and any heirs will divide what is left.

 

Since no one can find mother's will, if probate is done now it will be an intestate probate.  You need to ask your current attorney:  By law, do my deceased brother's children have the right to share in a portion of this estate or not? Since he asked for their contact information, they probably DO qualify for a share.

 

 If your mother's husband is still living, he also has a right to a share of this estate.

 

 Would ALL of the heirs agree to selling the home or would some of them object--that is one of the dilemmas here.

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The other heirs can force a sale of the home if they choose to do so.

 

If you want to continue living there, can you afford to make an offer to buy out the other heirs by paying them for their share?

 

Or do you want to continue living there by negotiating the rent that you would pay them?

 

Or would you prefer to move out and live elsewhere?

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My mother was a widow. No surviving husband.

 

In 1993, the property tax appraisal for the house was around $150,000....for 2016 the house was appraised for over $300,000.

There are no outstanding debts on the house. I have been paying the increasing property taxes for the house and paid off the 2nd mortgage too. I want to sell the house because the property taxes are very high and I can't even get a homestead exemption because the house is not in my name. I can no longer afford to pay the property taxes. I am OK with giving the heirs their portion of the proceeds from the sale of the house, but I need to get the house in my name so that I can sell it and move. From my understanding of the law, the heirs are eligible for their portion of the estate. I believe the remaining heirs just want the money.  I have no problem with them getting what they are due. I just want this process to happen in a timely manner. I have been dealing with this lawyer for 1 and a half years. It has been 6 months since he said pay me $1500 to continue the process..i.e., to get a court date so that a judge can do what needs to be done. (I also paid him the $1500 within 5 days).  Am I asking too much for this lawyer to get a court date in a timely manner?  I have a meeting with him next week. Please advise me because I plan to see him and demand that he do something or get fired and refund all the money I have paid him. But like I said before, I don't really want to start at the beginning with a new lawyer and start this over again.  I just want this to be done!

 

I have looked up info about the Texas Bar Association and their grievance process.  It does not help with getting a lawyer to do his part in a timely manner.

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Ask him to explain to you why it is taking so long and if his explanation and answers to your questions are resonable  consider keeping him.  If he blows you off, consider moving on. Getting all your money back is unrealistic, since he is entitled to be paid for the work he has done and it will probably be too expensive to sue him to determine what, if anything he owes you. The other option is to have the estate sell the house and reimburse you for your expenses.

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Check the online county court probate records to see if any type of filing has been made to open up a probated estate.  If possible, go to the courthouse to look at all documents in the probate file or order a copy of the probate file by mail.

 

You may want to consider asking the other heirs if they would be willing to split the retainer fee upfront so that a new attorney can be hired.

 

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Thanks knort4 for your response. I can't get my deceased brother's children to return my calls or texts. I have also mailed them letters prepared by my attorney and still no response.  I am on my own on trying to get this estate settled. That is why I am pushing to get a court date...so that all the heirs can be served through the legal system to show up or give it up.  

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Just so you know, just because they do not show up in court, does not mean they lose their inheritance rights, just that they do not object to your handling of the estate.  When they estate is closed, they will still, after the deduction of expenses, etc of the estate,  be entitled to their statutory share.

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It might have helped if the attorney's letter had mentioned that the potential heirs did not need to appear in person and that their attorney can respond on their behalf, but it looks as if you are proceeding correctly.

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Just to be clear:  before you can get a "court date", which appears to be your major objective, there needs to be qualification of an administrator, notice to the heirs, filing with the court to give the administrator power to sell the property and distribute the estate, sale of the property, acceptance of the sale by the court, settlement of the sale, order of distribution, distribution of the proceeds, and several minor but annoying details.  You don't just get a court date and sell the house.  However, the attorney's fees may be paid out of the proceeds of the sale.  (In the altternative, depending on procedures in Texas, with which I am not familiar, the court could appoint the attorney as special commissioner to sell the property, with his fees being set by the court.)

 

In any event, your attorney cannot simply request a trial date and be done with it.  As the lady in the commercial says, "That's now how it works.  That's not how any of this works,"

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