Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Thorny Estate Problem....Need feedback
Old 10-27-2010, 11:06 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,954
Thorny Estate Problem....Need feedback

We got a threatening letter from a legal firm yesterday. We have 3 days to respond (or else). It seems thier client encountered a title problem on the property which was sold by my MIL's estate in 2005. Current owner did not purchse from MIL's estate. The problem is a 3rd party claims to have an interest in the property and wants a very large sum to release thier interest. The 3rd party is a semi-estranged BIL. We believe two layers of title insurance plus probate process should protect us from being sued. Additionally, there is some thought that deceased SIL had co-sighned with MIL to acquire the property prior to marrying estranged BIL, and BIL has no interest in the property by way of marriage.

Yeah, I know we probably need a lawyer and it will cost us just to inhale/exhale.....but we feel like we should proceed methodically. One of many really annoying details is the letter was directed only to DW and thier are 10 other heirs and she is not Executor. Letter claims DW recieved $100% of proceeds.

Thoughts?
__________________

__________________
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
jazz4cash is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-27-2010, 11:38 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
GregLee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Waimanalo, HI
Posts: 1,881
My totally unknowledgeable impulse would be to not respond. Hunker down. If possible, don't admit having received any communication from them. Make them do all the work. Possibly the lawyer got just enough money to formulate the threatening letter, but no more, and will not pursue it if you don't react.
__________________

__________________
Greg (retired in 2010 at age 68, state pension)
GregLee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 12:34 AM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: North of Montana
Posts: 2,753
I have no knowledge of US law, but here in Canada, you as a beneficiary are protected, the executor is liable for any problems. If you are not the executor, they have no claim against you.

I'd wait to be sued. If sued, I'd counter sue for costs. YMMV.
__________________
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who can extrapolate conclusions from insufficient data and ..
kumquat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 05:24 AM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
FIRE'd@51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz4cash View Post
We believe two layers of title insurance plus probate process should protect us from being sued.
I'm not a a lawyer, but this is what I would think, too. Have you contacted your own insurance company? I would think this would be covered by your umbrella policy (possibly even your own homeowner's policy), and they would defend you at their cost.
__________________
I'd rather be governed by the first one hundred names in the telephone book than the Harvard faculty - William F. Buckley
FIRE'd@51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 05:38 AM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ls99's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,792
FWIW.

About 25 years ago sold my house in NY State. Roughly six month later got a message on my phone minder from the broker that I used to sell the property with. The message was for me to call him, regarding some terrible accident in/on the property.

Never called him back. Never heard from him or anyone else again about what the problem or outcome was. Nor did I care. And still don't.

My thoughts were along the line of, I sold the property with all rights, title, interest and benefits, thus nothing was left for me to care or worry about.
__________________
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
ls99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 06:10 AM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pittsburgh, PA suburbs
Posts: 1,769
It sounds like a fishing expedition to me.
I have been the executor of two estates and it has been my unfortunate experience that the whiff of possible gain can bring some cockroaches (and people that one would least expect) out into the open.
I would give this letter to my lawyer and have him handle it. After my husband died he wrote a couple of very firm letters and the parties disappeared into the night never to be heard from again. I should add that there was no merit to the claims. Same with a claim of an unpaid bill after my Dad died (false also).
__________________
WhoDaresWins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 07:08 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Htown Harry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,516
Do you know if any of the other heirs received similar individual letters? If they have, it would further confirm the fishing expedition theory.

Personally, I think I'd be weighing not responding or writing a very succinct reply along the lines of "I got your letter. Your claims are without merit." or maybe "Thanks for the note full of unsupported and ridiculous claims. No."
__________________
Htown Harry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 11:17 AM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,954
Quote:
Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
Do you know if any of the other heirs received similar individual letters? If they have, it would further confirm the fishing expedition theory.

Personally, I think I'd be weighing not responding or writing a very succinct reply along the lines of "I got your letter. Your claims are without merit." or maybe "Thanks for the note full of unsupported and ridiculous claims. No."
Thanks to all for the feedback....much appreciated....keep it coming! None of the other heirs were contacted. I am inclined to believe being singled out is confirmation of a fishing expedition. This just sucks to the core. We picked up some paperwork from the Executor last night, but that's it so far.
__________________
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
jazz4cash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 11:31 AM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,291
I would likely do what Htown suggests.... AFTER I got a second or even a third letter...

The first letter like this does not merit a response... sure, you have to do some leg work to make sure you are not hanging out there to get whacked... but responding back comes later...
__________________
Texas Proud is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2010, 03:11 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
Definitely provide a copy of the letter from h*ll to your own attorney as a "heads up".

Save the envelope it arrived in for the USPS postmark as proof of the date of delivery, assuming the envelope has the legal firm's return address on it. If it does not bear any return address, you may be able to conclude that magic dust and a word processor is the culprit here.

I would take no other action nor respond to the sender at this point, as others have recommended. This has scam written all over it.

As far as "or else" goes...
__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2010, 08:02 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,954
We've been told the original joint tenancy was "broken" when a loan against the property was provided without including all individuals on the deed. This caused the 3rd party to gain an interest in the property. It still seems to result from an error on the part of the title company. This error was apparently repeated subsequently on two more title searches.
__________________
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
jazz4cash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2010, 10:15 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,954
Update
Not much to add really, but I needed to get some things off my back. Many of you gave good advice confirming my initial feelings. We spoke with several attorneys and eventually found two that were very generous with thier time and the one with the most expertise with this issue felt there was not much for us to worry about. They did not want any fees from us, but I plan to send each a gift card as a thank you. Problem is, doing nothing (hunkering down) still leaves me looking over my shoulder a bit. I am sleeping better, but not as well as I'd like to.

We did get some affirmation that tenancy was broken inadvertantly, and it seems to be a very weak bit of real property law that this could even occur. it's just not something that should involve us so we have not responded and have not received any additional communication. At some point I will try to lay it all out. For now we are simply triple checking our owner's title insurance policies. My brother's realtor, who was quite helpful, advised that clients purchasing foreclosures were having great difficulty obtaining title insurance due to all the fraud involved and title insurance companies are generally laying low.
__________________
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
jazz4cash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2010, 10:22 PM   #13
gone traveling
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,864
Suggested reply:

"I am sitting in the smallest room in my house with your letter in front of me; soon it will be behind me."

YMMV

Good luck.
__________________
Westernskies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2010, 10:37 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,001
I never saw your post from Oct, just saw it tonight. I'm just finishing up closing an estate where I was the independent administrator (essentially, executor). There's a 6 month window that has to be posted for any claims against the estate. From this perspective, seems to me this claim should've been filed during this time frame. I would think the executor/attorney's from the estate would be the people that need to be contacted about any claims. I would think this really is a fishing expedition and this person would need to hire an attorney that would want money upfront to pursue it knowing they don't have too much to stand on, but if they're willing to pay, they can make the executor's (and your) life a nightmare.
__________________
Dimsumkid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2010, 03:11 AM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,072
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westernskies View Post
Suggested reply:

"I am sitting in the smallest room in my house with your letter in front of me; soon it will be behind me."

YMMV

Good luck.

AWESOME response - took me about 5 seconds and then coffee spewed all over the place.....thanks for my day opening laugh.
__________________
Deserat aka Bridget
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” - George Orwell/Winston Churchill
deserat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2010, 04:31 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,954
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westernskies View Post
Suggested reply:

"I am sitting in the smallest room in my house with your letter in front of me; soon it will be behind me."

YMMV

Good luck.
LOL, not bad but I am too uptight for that. Actually, the letter I had in mind was:

Dear Sir
I am writing to acknowledge reciept of your letter pertaining to the matter of xyz.

Sincerely
Jazz
__________________
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
jazz4cash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2010, 11:24 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,954
This is not working out as we had hoped. The summons came 2 days before Christmas....bummer. It's a mystery as to why DW was singled out of 11 sibs. There are several other things that seem out of order. Despite some pretty baseless claims, it seems our options are fairly limited.
__________________
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
jazz4cash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2010, 11:30 PM   #18
gone traveling
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,864
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz4cash View Post
This is not working out as we had hoped. The summons came 2 days before Christmas....bummer. It's a mystery as to why DW was singled out of 11 sibs. There are several other things that seem out of order. Despite some pretty baseless claims, it seems our options are fairly limited.
Bummer, jazz. Still smells like BIL is on a fishing expedition. Good luck and keep us posted.
__________________
Westernskies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 05:12 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,954
We thought this would be behind us by now, but it's persistent. Hired a lawyer and attempted to be dismissed by the plaintiff. We had good documentation, but it was rejected. Hopfully judge will dismiss, but it sounds pretty iffy. Sickening, really.
__________________
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
jazz4cash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 11:26 PM   #20
gone traveling
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,864
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz4cash View Post
We thought this would be behind us by now, but it's persistent. Hired a lawyer and attempted to be dismissed by the plaintiff. We had good documentation, but it was rejected. Hopfully judge will dismiss, but it sounds pretty iffy. Sickening, really.
Hang in there jazz; time wounds all heels.
__________________

__________________
Westernskies is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New Plan - Feedback Welcome! GoodSense Young Dreamers 28 09-30-2007 03:30 PM
Give me some feedback please Rollie FIRE and Money 4 03-09-2006 06:31 PM
not a FIRE question, but real estate insurance problem... kitty_37 FIRE and Money 9 08-26-2005 06:08 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:19 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.