Can an estate attorney be held accountable if statute of limitations of theft from the account by executor is allowed to expire?

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Can an estate attorney be held accountable if statute of limitations of theft from the account by executor is allowed to expire?

Mother’s estate was unsettled for over 3 years. My sister was executor and lied to or ignored estate attorney requests for information and updates, according to him. The probate judge finally removed her as executor at which point we discovered that she’d stolen everything from the estate checking account. Statue of limitations for prosecution has passed. Is estate attorney accountable in anyway?

Asked on October 22, 2010 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You have a very delicate situation here.  The attorney for the estate is caught here in a tough position.  His primary responsibility is to represent the interests of the estate and the executor in the probate and not the interests of the beneficiaries BUT that is not to say that he is to turn his head when there is a fraud being perpetrated.  So, if it was law office failure or intentional how would you know?  Both can be malpractice, yes.  And you can speak with a legal malpractice attorney to decide if you have a case. I would also like to ask: did your sister post a bond?  That may be an avenue to explore as well.   


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