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Estate Attorney and Executor?
Old 01-23-2018, 05:07 PM   #1
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Estate Attorney and Executor?

Hello, would anyone here might have any ideas how to go about hiring a new estate attorney?

I had one estate attorney for years, Ms. X, who prepared my whole package of documents and was also going to be my executor as well as take care of everything else needed. But she retired and moved out of state.

I requested names at the NYC Bar Legal Referral and they obliged but it seems some attorneys aren't willing to be an executor or a health proxy or take decisions about my advance directives. Never thought these would be a problem as I had none with Ms. X...

Unfortunately, my family is gone, and my friends can't or won't be an executor....

I'm a little confused and worried as I'm now...on a limbo. Would appreciate your ideas a lot!
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Old 01-23-2018, 05:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Rosedala View Post
Hello, would anyone here might have any ideas how to go about hiring a new estate attorney?

I had one estate attorney for years, Ms. X, who prepared my whole package of documents and was also going to be my executor as well as take care of everything else needed. But she retired and moved out of state.

I requested names at the NYC Bar Legal Referral and they obliged but it seems some attorneys aren't willing to be an executor or a health proxy or take decisions about my advance directives. Never thought these would be a problem as I had none with Ms. X...

Unfortunately, my family is gone, and my friends can't or won't be an executor....

I'm a little confused and worried as I'm now...on a limbo. Would appreciate your ideas a lot!
Depending on how large the estate, there is always a bank or trust company to do the job. Most wills provide as a final backup executor that a licensed bank or trust company be the final choice of executor.
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Old 01-23-2018, 05:44 PM   #3
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In some states, an attorney who constructs the will and documents cannot act as executor. Look for executor services companies. There will be a fee for managing your estate through probate.
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Old 01-23-2018, 05:57 PM   #4
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Research "private professional fiduciaries." They are a great option for a situation as you describe.
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:34 PM   #5
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The attorney who prepared our wills and POAs, is willing to act as fiduciary....for a fee. He said they see lots of old people with no family left, parents of "special needs" kids who will need to be completely cared for after the parents die, and similar difficult situations. I suspect they do some kind of means testing, to be sure the estate can support their fees.
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:36 PM   #6
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Banks usually have a Trust division which has the expertise to act as executor of your estate, for a fee, of course.
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:51 PM   #7
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After struggling with this question, I went ahead and specified one of my sisters as executor/successor trustee despite an 'imperfect' history of financial management. I suggest doing as much due diligence as possible before hiring an unrelated third party as executor. The problem is: who can you trust? I don't find humans trustworthy, in general.

This recent article in the local newspaper caught my eye. Of course, only the atypical cases are newsworthy, but it's interesting nonetheless.
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by meierlde View Post
Depending on how large the estate, there is always a bank or trust company to do the job. Most wills provide as a final backup executor that a licensed bank or trust company be the final choice of executor.
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies so I just saw them now.

"Most wills provide as a final backup executor that a licensed bank or trust company be the final choice of executor."

meierlde, I find very difficult to trust a stranger whether in a bank or trust co....but I have no choice. So if any of these institutions won't consider my estate high enough, would a lawyer be sufficient? (Not that I'd trust a lawyer more - I used to work for them...) lol!

I do have also a Living Revocable Trust so I hope there will be no probate problems. While my estate is not too large there will be enough to pay all the professionals in my case.

So, following your advice, I'll talk with my bank's manager of their trust department. But in talking once with one estate attorney I noticed that, the same as with the executor and advanced directives jobs, he hesitated to do also my Health Proxy. Any suggestions here as well? Thanks again!
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rosedala View Post
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies so I just saw them now.

"Most wills provide as a final backup executor that a licensed bank or trust company be the final choice of executor."

meierlde, I find very difficult to trust a stranger whether in a bank or trust co....but I have no choice. So if any of these institutions won't consider my estate high enough, would a lawyer be sufficient? (Not that I'd trust a lawyer more - I used to work for them...) lol!

I do have also a Living Revocable Trust so I hope there will be no probate problems. While my estate is not too large there will be enough to pay all the professionals in my case.

So, following your advice, I'll talk with my bank's manager of their trust department. But in talking once with one estate attorney I noticed that, the same as with the executor and advanced directives jobs, he hesitated to do also my Health Proxy. Any suggestions here as well? Thanks again!

I'll repeat... look into private professional fiduciaries. They are licensed, bondable, and in my experience give a much more personal touch than do bank true departments. I have personally dealt with bank trust departments and private professionals MANY TIMES. I am speaking from great experience. Not just some uninformed person commenting. Do yourself a favor and look into it. I do not the specifics of PFACs in your state but in my state they are a great option.
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Gotadimple View Post
In some states, an attorney who constructs the will and documents cannot act as executor. Look for executor services companies. There will be a fee for managing your estate through probate.
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies so I just saw them now.

Hi and thank you Gotadimple, yes I may have to just hire a stranger as executor. But from the many readings in the internet (trying to untangle this process jungle) I think it's a matter of money. As I understood it, it seems while this lawyer can be an executor, s/he won't be paid by the State (NYC), only by my estate. If this happens to be the case and I finally choose a certain lawyer, I wonder if I could either pay s/he now, or sign an affidavit or something where h/she can collect from both...or something?

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CaliKid View Post
Research "private professional fiduciaries." They are a great option for a situation as you describe.
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies as I just saw them now.

Hi CaliKid and thanks for the suggestion. I will look into "private professional fiduciaries." right away as in May I'll take a trip to Italy and don't want to risk dying without my final documents being implemented.... Thanks again!
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:32 PM   #12
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The attorney who prepared our wills and POAs, is willing to act as fiduciary....for a fee. He said they see lots of old people with no family left, parents of "special needs" kids who will need to be completely cared for after the parents die, and similar difficult situations. I suspect they do some kind of means testing, to be sure the estate can support their fees.
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies as I just saw them now.

Oh how lucky you are Amethyst! As I explained in my original post, my estate attorney of many years finally retired and moved out of state. I felt the floor was removed from under my feet! Do you trust and like your attorney? If so, and if he lives in NYC or a nearby city could you facilitate his contact to me? He sounds like he would accept to do the whole package for me.

As to having enough funds in my estate for paying all the professionals needed for this matter, while it's not a huge amount, yes, there will be plenty for all of that...I'll see to it that I don't spend it all... lol!

Anticipating my thanks for your attorney's contact? Thank you again!
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:35 PM   #13
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Banks usually have a Trust division which has the expertise to act as executor of your estate, for a fee, of course.
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies as I just saw them now.

Thank you Meadbh, I intend to talk to my bank's manager about their trust dept. do it for me. Wish me luck? Thanks again!
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:49 PM   #14
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After struggling with this question, I went ahead and specified one of my sisters as executor/successor trustee despite an 'imperfect' history of financial management. I suggest doing as much due diligence as possible before hiring an unrelated third party as executor. The problem is: who can you trust? I don't find humans trustworthy, in general.

This recent article in the local newspaper caught my eye. Of course, only the atypical cases are newsworthy, but it's interesting nonetheless.
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies as I just saw them now.

Hi socca, I feel much the same as you and think anyone also should by logic. I hear/read plenty of fraud too... I looked at the link and see that you and I are right in distrusting people. However they are the only ones to deal with so we must do the best we can. I see you have done the best you can too by having your sister take care of your affairs, and she probably has you for the same thing. Well, maybe she isn't as bad a financial manager as you think? At least it's all within the family...

I wish you the very best!
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:09 PM   #15
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I'll repeat... look into private professional fiduciaries. They are licensed, bondable, and in my experience give a much more personal touch than do bank true departments. I have personally dealt with bank trust departments and private professionals MANY TIMES. I am speaking from great experience. Not just some uninformed person commenting. Do yourself a favor and look into it. I do not the specifics of PFACs in your state but in my state they are a great option.
Oh CaliKid THANKS SO VERY MUCH for giving me the benefit of your experience in these matters! I appreciate it a whole lot!!! Yes, I definitely am looking into this tonight and hopefully by tomorrow I may make some appointments. I'm sure if this organization not in my state, there's most probably some equivalents to the California organization.

Just as you said, when I Googled it, it showed only the one in CA, so I added NYC and got some similar organizations which I'll open one by one and see how they work.

If I run into a dilemma may I contact you again for help? Meantime...A BIG HUG!!! :-)
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosedala View Post
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies so I just saw them now.

"Most wills provide as a final backup executor that a licensed bank or trust company be the final choice of executor."

meierlde, I find very difficult to trust a stranger whether in a bank or trust co....but I have no choice. So if any of these institutions won't consider my estate high enough, would a lawyer be sufficient? (Not that I'd trust a lawyer more - I used to work for them...) lol!

I do have also a Living Revocable Trust so I hope there will be no probate problems. While my estate is not too large there will be enough to pay all the professionals in my case.

So, following your advice, I'll talk with my bank's manager of their trust department. But in talking once with one estate attorney I noticed that, the same as with the executor and advanced directives jobs, he hesitated to do also my Health Proxy. Any suggestions here as well? Thanks again!
For this sort of thing look at locally run and HQ banks not one of the big nationwide banks. You will get better service. Also you can ask local lawyers how they find the local banks trust departments.
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:44 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosedala View Post
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies so I just saw them now.

Hi and thank you Gotadimple, yes I may have to just hire a stranger as executor. But from the many readings in the internet (trying to untangle this process jungle) I think it's a matter of money. As I understood it, it seems while this lawyer can be an executor, s/he won't be paid by the State (NYC), only by my estate. If this happens to be the case and I finally choose a certain lawyer, I wonder if I could either pay s/he now, or sign an affidavit or something where h/she can collect from both...or something?

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
Any executor, whether your best friend or a professional will expect to be compensated for costs by your estate. I am in a similar position as you and I did research with several firms and selected one to act as my executor. The courts have first call on the estate to cover costs, then the remainder is distributed according to your instructions.

To get a sense of costs, ask! Whether you use a trust department, a guardianship service, or a private fiduciary, they should all be willing to share what cost cost would be today.
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Old 02-02-2018, 12:31 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rosedala View Post
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies so I just saw them now.

Hi and thank you Gotadimple, yes I may have to just hire a stranger as executor. But from the many readings in the internet (trying to untangle this process jungle) I think it's a matter of money. As I understood it, it seems while this lawyer can be an executor, s/he won't be paid by the State (NYC), only by my estate. If this happens to be the case and I finally choose a certain lawyer, I wonder if I could either pay s/he now, or sign an affidavit or something where h/she can collect from both...or something?

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
I don’t know why you would expect your executor to be paid by the State. The executor is named in your will and compensated for expenses and a reasonable amount from your estate. This is normal and expected. An executor’s job can be quite onerous and worthy of compensation. There is no prepayment. After all, the executor could die before you.
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:21 PM   #19
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Our estate planning firm is in Maryland. There are estate planning/elder law firms in every state, so that is where I would advise you to begin looking.

We wouldn't call these attorneys friends. We went with this firm because a) a smart acquaintance recommended them; b) they have a very good reputation; c) they are fairly close to us; d) they answered all our questions and even volunteered (for a fee) "educational" sessions to bring up things we hadn't even thought of. We ended up paying a flat retainer for all our documents and advice sessions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosedala View Post
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR RESPONDING! I'm sorry I didn't get a notice of these replies as I just saw them now.

Oh how lucky you are Amethyst! As I explained in my original post, my estate attorney of many years finally retired and moved out of state. I felt the floor was removed from under my feet! Do you trust and like your attorney? If so, and if he lives in NYC or a nearby city could you facilitate his contact to me? He sounds like he would accept to do the whole package for me.

As to having enough funds in my estate for paying all the professionals needed for this matter, while it's not a huge amount, yes, there will be plenty for all of that...I'll see to it that I don't spend it all... lol!

Anticipating my thanks for your attorney's contact? Thank you again!
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:26 PM   #20
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Any executor, whether your best friend or a professional will expect to be compensated for costs by your estate. I am in a similar position as you and I did research with several firms and selected one to act as my executor. The courts have first call on the estate to cover costs, then the remainder is distributed according to your instructions.

To get a sense of costs, ask! Whether you use a trust department, a guardianship service, or a private fiduciary, they should all be willing to share what cost cost would be today.
Thank you, I have no problem paying for these services in whichever legal way it's done. My problem is in finding someone who'll do everything needed.

I'm so glad you already found a satisfactory executor but...who will do your other documents and take action when it's time? Not the same person? I read a lot about these things: i.e. when you have more than one person not only they may get into argument but your estate will be paying double, especially if the person is the one who does the hiring. I hope I'm not confusing you, because I am! lol!

May I ask what you saw in the lawyer you chose to be your executor, that the others didn't have? I find this search very exhausting, especially because it is at the same time as other urgent matters that I must resolve NOW...As I said before I live in NYC, in what city do you live?

My retired attorney did these documents many years ago: Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, Health Proxy, Advanced Directives...even an Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains! AND at my request, an Amendment to my Trust whereby I become SOLE TRUSTEE until I die or become incompetent at which events my attorney then re-takes over. One lawyer I went to see said he'll draft all those documents including acting as my executor and health proxy, etc. for $5500. I haven't seen anyone else yet so can't tell if this is more or less the going price but hope I can see some soon). I'm trying to choose someone from private professional fiduciaries which was kindly advised by CaliKid in this thread, and also hope that only one fiduciary will be able to do everything.
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