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Mon Jun 20, 2022, 03:36 PM

Lawyer won't respond

We have a lawyer handling a probate of part of my fatherís estate. It is taking forever. I have contacted him numerous times asking when I will have to drop off important documents to the court as well as other questions. After a certain point when we had signed and notarized papers heís not responding back to me and Iím not sure what to do now.

We have already paid him so thereís really no way to hire someone else at this point in time. Iím starting to get worried that something is very odd about this whole situation. He also made some serious errors on the documents which I had to point out to him and request that he correct them and send them back to us.

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Response to Meowmee (Original post)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 03:47 PM

1. Call the State Bar Association. That will get his attention.

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Response to Lochloosa (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 04:00 PM

4. Yes I guess that would

Can he retaliate in some way if it comes to that? I wish I had hired another lawyer rec by a friend, at that time she said it would go through fast and her fee was much less. I thought he would help with some other matters and there is still a probate in another country.

My brother just tried calling his office and someone said he will call back. Nothing yet.

I feel like such and idiot for hiring him 😔

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Response to Lochloosa (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 04:08 PM

7. Exactly. The most common reason for attorney discipline

is being unresponsive to clients. Itís possible he has a substance abuse problem or is experiencing depression, or is out of his depth. None of those excuse failing to respond timely to client inquiries, or to adequately represent a client.

You said youíve already paid him. In my state, attorney fees for an estateís attorney are fixed by statute as a percentage of the estate value. The probate judge in my county literally had a calculator, with a paper printout on her desk. When you brought in an application for approval of attorney fees (near the time the estate was due to close) she would start pounding the keys to come up with the statutorily allowed amount. Only then would she approve the fees.

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Response to rsdsharp (Reply #7)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 04:20 PM

8. I think only the probate filing fee is based on the value being probated here

The lawyer fee is another matter. He had helped me when my father was still alive and in hospital and seemed to care so I thought he was ok. I read reviews that he had handled more complex estate probates also.

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Response to Meowmee (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 04:24 PM

9. Check with the county bar association, and/or Legal Aid.

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Response to rsdsharp (Reply #9)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 04:25 PM

10. Yes I will

Lets see if he responds to my brother calling this time.

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Response to Meowmee (Original post)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 03:49 PM

2. Document everything. Type everything you can think of.

Go see another attorney some distance away for a
consult.

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Response to Tetrachloride (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 04:02 PM

5. I will have to

I am so busy doing some training online & dealing with other disasters I literally do not have time right now, but I will asap. I do not have money to pay another lawyer and we already paid him what is a lot of money for us.

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Response to Meowmee (Original post)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 03:58 PM

3. In my state, Oregon, the State Bar Association would be the way to go.

They will follow up with you and the lawyer and, if necessary, get somebody else to help.

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Response to Shrike47 (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 04:04 PM

6. I hope it is free if they get someone else 😹

Thank goodness I did not give him those documents. Only copies.

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Response to Meowmee (Original post)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 04:31 PM

11. I would go to the court house, to the clerks, find out who the probate judge is

and I would write a letter directly to the judge. I am not sure how it works in US but in Canada, we have separate probate judges and they deal directly with the clerks because so many people handle probate on their own. I did for both my Aunt and Uncle (who died within mos of each other) and I connected with the clerks and they were extremely helpful.

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Response to Bev54 (Reply #11)

Mon Jun 20, 2022, 07:43 PM

12. I will try

I was thinking of calling the court about it but I donít think they would tell me over the phone. It is a long drive. My brother is the executor so they may only speak to him. Probate is a lot more complex here-US..and after reading about it we decided we could not do it ourselves. I donít know if anyone does here. If it is under a certain amount you can avoid it or it is much simpler. Unfortunately my father passed before he could finish a living trust he had started or we also could have avoided it here.

The other part will be in Canada, my father did the probate of his fatherís estate there himself also.

I know the lawyer has filed it now because the filing fee showed up on my last cc bill finally.

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Response to Meowmee (Original post)

Wed Jun 22, 2022, 12:38 AM

13. Is he local or reasonable driving distance?

If so I would go to his office. If part of a firm, would also go to the office and either see him or the administrator of the firm.

Assuming you are calling or corresponding via email.
Does anyone answer the phone when you call? If so I would insist on speaking to him.

If none of these actions are feasible, then I would write him a registered letter giving him 3 days to respond to you, if he doesnít, you will report him to the state Bar and demand a refund of any fees you already paid.

Goodluck!

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Response to Fla Dem (Reply #13)

Wed Jun 22, 2022, 02:31 AM

14. He has offices here and elsewhere in the state but was not there for the winter.

I can't go there right now, it is a considerable distance to drive and I have several emergencies going on and a lot work that has to be completed in a certain time frame. I have pretty much insisted on speaking with him and my brother called and no response. Most of our communications have been via telephone, email etc. due to the circumstances and the pandemic etc.

After signing the papers and paying the fees at some point he stopped responding to emails, and when I called the cell phone there is no room for leaving a message now and he does not respond to an sms to call me, all of which he did respond to in the past although sometimes it took a while. I called the office twice, and spoke with someone there, no response- he never called back. As did my brother once now who is the executor.

One thing I am worried about is that official documents have to be dropped off to the court at some point for the probate and he is not telling me when this will happen, he said it would take 50-70 days for the probate. The probate fee was charged to my card 1-2 months ago but the papers were all signed in March and the fee was paid in January.

I am going to call the court. Can I demand a refund it the probate does not go through if it is already filed? I am in un chartered territory here for me. But then it has to start all over again with someone else and I want it to be done asap, at least for this country.


I do not have time to do all of this now because of a lot going on. I hope there is nothing serious to worry about here. I am going to try to call the court tomorrow and see if they will tell me if it has been filed.

I don't know who the admin of the firm is- I think it may be his wife. This is a relatively small firm as far as I can tell.

Thanks for your help 😁

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Response to Meowmee (Original post)

Mon Jun 27, 2022, 07:28 PM

15. A response finally

My brother told me today after five days of calling him in a row the lawyer finally responded to him. He claimed that he has not filed the petition yet and was waiting for us to drop off the documents. Yet in an email, several of them, and on the phone he specifically told me that he would not charge the fee until the probate was electronically filed. And he would then tell me to drop them off. Instead he charged the probate fee to the card about 2 months ago and then did nothing and failed to respond to me or to tell me anything.

I called him after my brother told me what he had said, that his wife was ill, he apologized to my brother but not to me. He was rude and said he wanted to speak to my brother who he was filing the papers for who is the executor. I said he is rude and I am an equal inheritor of the estate that is being probated, I am the one who decided to hire him and I am the one doing all of the work for this. When he filled out the papers at first I had to sign a notarized paper agreeing that my brother is the executor etc.


I am not sure what to do. He told my brother he had not filed anything yet but I was supposed to drop off documents first, exactly the opposite of what he told me. It would make no sense because I donít think a court would take documents for a case that was not filed. And he asked if I can drop off the documents to his office here now tomorrow which I canít. So he charged us the filing fee and did nothing delaying the probate by at least 3-4 months.

I am going to call the court to see if anything was filed and call the bar association to see if they think we can get our money back etc. the contract says he can keep money for services rendered if either one wants to break it.

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