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Home  →  Arkansas  →  Little Rock, AR  →  I am executrix in a probate case. The lawyer has not returned my calls or letters in 15 months. What do I do?
 
 

I am executrix in a probate case. The lawyer has not returned my calls or letters in 15 months. What do I do?

I know attorneys are busy, but they should at least have the courtesy to update you -- at least on a yearly basis!!! The deadline on the probate was 2 years ago. At this point, I still do not even know who has filed a claim. This is a small town in Arkansas, and being probate has to stay within the county. So...

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Answers (4):

1. Andy
Go to the probate court and look at the file. Note the date of the latest document.

Was this a taxable estate? If so were state and federal taxes paid? Was anything paid out to the heirs?

Unfortunately in many states there is little real protection for victims of lawyers who steal. Your lawyer probably did not -- it's a rare occurrence. But when it happens it can be tragic.

Once you have seen the file and noted whether anything has been done in the past year, you should write him a letter via Certified Mail instructing him to bring you up to date and to help you close the estate promptly. Or to resign.

If you do not get a response in ten days, you need to write to the Arkansas Bar grievance committee as follows:

Stark Ligon
Executive Director
Committee on Professional Conduct
Supreme Court of Arkansas
Justice Building
625 Marshall, Room 110
Little Rock, AR 72201-1054
Tel. (501) 376-0313
Fax: (501) 376-3438
Website: http://courts.state.ar.us/courts/cpc.htm...

Lack of communication gets more lawyers in trouble than anything else. I am a retired member a couple of state bars and I read through the monthy listing of disciplined lawyers with some sadness.
2. MLaw
An attorney has a legal and ethical obligation to keep his client informed of the status of his case and to move the matter with reasonable dispatch.
First, go down to the County seat & ask to see the probate file. It is public record to see if anything has been done in the last 15 months. That will tell you what the status of the case is.
Second: You can change attorneys; even retain one in a another county.
Third: You can send a written complaint to the probate judge, with a copy to the lawyer.
Fourth: You can send a written complaint to the state bar association or other state regulatory agency, with a copy to the lawyer.

** Note: This is a general discussion of the subject matter of your question and not legal advice. Local laws or your particular situation may change the general rules. For a specific answer to your question you should consult legal counsel with whom you can discuss all the facts of your case. **
3. donamarie_1
I would contact the courts first. Then I would try the state atty grievance committee...Look under Bar Association.
If all else fails, go sit in the courtroom of the judge that is handling probate in your case, and when the court is cleared try to get a member of the judges staff to listen to your complaint and see if they can direct you on an alternative course of action.
Lastly, if you are executrix, can you stop payment to the shark,,,oops, I ment lawyer?
4. open4one
The only thing I will add to the excellent response above is that you need to call the numbers he provided MONDAY. Whether he has done something deliberate, or neglected some legal requirement, or just neglected to call you back, you can't wait forever. There are statutes of limitations for just about everything short of murder.

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