My wife inherited 100K from a person worth $5M. We suspect the attorney handling the estate took some of the money. Who can help me?

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My wife inherited 100K from a person worth $5M. We suspect the attorney handling the estate took some of the money. Who can help me?

The attorney went into semi-retirement after reading the will.

Asked on March 19, 2009 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

S.B.A., Member, California and Texas Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Did you ever receive the 100K, or do you suspect the amount should have been more than 100k ??

If you did not receive the 100K, go to the Probate Court and get a copy of the court file. Possibly the person did not have enough assets to cover all their bequests. Review the statement of assets and liabilities which should be filed in the Probate Court case.

Who was the executor of the estate ? It is their responsibility to distribute the estate. Have they filed any paperwork stating that the estate was distributed ? Possibly the estate is still being administered (it may still be in process of identifying assets and debts and locating heirs).

If the monies were paid to the attorney ( i.e. if the attorney was the executor/administrator of the estate) and you believe there has been misappropriation of the bequest, you have two routes to pursue correction: 1. The Probate Court, whose job it is to oversee the distribution of the estate, and   2. The State Bar of Georgia, who will check on any complaint about a lawyer and decide if the allegation can be sustained.

If the State Bar proceeds with a disciplinary proceeding against the attorney, they may (or may not) require restitution to the victim, as one of a lawyer's probation conditions.


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