Can a lawyer hold money willed to grandchildren until the executor pays him?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a lawyer hold money willed to grandchildren until the executor pays him?

My grandfather passed away and all of the grandchildren were gifted some money. The lawyer told my father (who is the executor or the Will) that we will not recieve that money until he’s in full from my father. Can he do that?

Asked on August 10, 2011 New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The lawyer handling the probate of your grandfather's estate owes a fiduciary duty not only to the executor of the will, but also all beneficiaries. This means that there is an utmost duty to be honest, truthful and not do anything to the detriment of the people he is representing.

In a probate, the court per statute typically sets the fees for the lawyer which are paid out of the estate's assets per court order before the estate is finally distributed to the heirs. The lawyer handling this probate cannot legally hold monies due the heirs of the estate as "ransom" for his or her unpaid legal services associated with the probate.

The issue is that if the estate does not have enough assets to pay all creditors who have submitted timely claims and the lawyer's fees and costs, there might not be enough assets for distribution to the heirs in that their share is taken from the estate's net amount after all creditors and other costs including legal fees per statute are paid.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption