Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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because of his sloppiness, start looking for another lawyer.
Which to me is an important issue here: The firm was to be paid a significant amount of money to handle a simple estate and failed. Their mishandling of the estate is what caused them not to be paid, and the mishandling of the estate means they don't deserve to be paid. The present outcome seems particularly and unusually just in a way that rarely occurs in this world. It's like bank robbers locking themselves in the vault just before setting off the alarm.
The relationship must not have been so good in the first place for the lawyer to charge so much in this situation when the advice could have been "do it yourself" with this simple estate, as several people have pointed out. Asking to be paid at this point as a result of not doing what they were paid to do properly is absurd and is reason enough on its own to find a new lawyer, even without the bungling of the process of settling the estate. If the relationship were so good, Attorney rather than Associate would have called to let Mary in on the joke that they played on themselves with their own incompetence, in a good-humored and apologetic way.
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J295 wrote:In my world, $2,000 is not material
In that case, could you send me $2000? It is material to me.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.
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Mlm wrote:After I made the distributions I signed the final court papers to close the Estate a few days ago. Today the Associate called me to explain that his boss (my Attorney) had never submitted the legal bill to the Estate.
I told him to send it to me.
That's mighty decent of you, but perhaps a better response would have been to say, "The estate is closed, so how do you submit a bill to the estate now?" And see what he says. Luckily, it's not too late to ask that!!! Ask your attorney and copy the associate. Do it by email or in writing. You don't have to be mean or confrontational about it; they just need to make it clear, in writing, that they are asking you to personally
pay a bill of the estate, if they are in fact asking you to do that. They might not be; they might have just sent you the bill because you literally told them to send you the bill.
There is absolutely no reason for you to personally be on the hook for the entire bill.
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Interesting answers to an interesting problem. But all seriousness aside and since it is TGIF, isn't this problem about splitting heirs?
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- Location: SoCal
I had something similar happen. The billing department at the lawyers' office sent out their monthly bills without the lawyers' review. I called the lawyer to question how they came up with that amount. He got back to me. "Well, an associate had to sit in the courtroom for 2 hours waiting for your case to be called...so that cost $xxx. Your case then lasted 5 minutes."
"Woaah. That doesn't benefit me that the lawyer can't find something productive to do while waiting... (not those exact words)."
The lawyer cut the bill down to something more reasonable, then I paid.
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Mlm wrote:OP here Thanks for the ideas.
I have had a long relationship with the owner of this small law office and in the past he has done some small work for me without charge. I gave him a lot of business (over 100K per year for 25 years) for the company I used to work for. I don't want to stiff him but his employee really screwed this up. I think I will sit on this bill for now and see if I get any further collection correspondence. If I do, I will offer $500 for my portion of the bill. In any case I won't be giving him any future business.
Your idea of paying your part of the bill sounds fair. The attorney showed up and did his job. The billing was screwed up. Therefore there is a problem.
You of course should handle it your way. If this was my issue, I would start by talking to the attorney in person(preferred) or over the phone. I would say that we have a problem and need to discuss this. I would present my problems with the bill and stop talking. My plan would be to let the attorney do most of the talking about the solution. I would not expose my bottom line solution during the meeting. I might say that I would want to discuss solutions with my family. The attorney could come up with a solution that would be acceptable. It's almost an exercise in teamwork.
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- Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:00 pm
OP Here. As a follow up...I spoke to the Firms owner and he agreed that his Associate screwed up bigly. I agreed to pay my 1/4 of the bill and he accepted that as payment in full. I want to thank everyone for their suggestions.
Reality has a way of catching up with you
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Thanks for the update. Sounds fair enough.