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The Lawyers Seemed To Get Mum and Dads Money After They Died

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What happened, the Wills were clear, there was no one contesting the Will but it looks like the money is gone? This has an all too familiar ring to it. Let me step you through one of the ways the legal fraternity get down on often trusting, honest hard working people's money after they die and potential inheritance.

1. Mum and dad go to the lawyer to make their Wills. Beneficiaries are not permitted to be there as there may be some coercion.

2. A clause goes into the Will along these lines " the lawyer will be paid for services carried out, at the market rate" (or words to this effect)

3. The lawyer will be an executor of this will and our estate together with Johnny our beloved son who is also a Beneficiary.

4. Mum and dad pass on, the lawyer writes to the bank, insurance company etc informing them of the situation and explaining that funds held on behalf of the deceased need to be deposited into the lawyers trust account. Let's assume there is no contest on the Will, but there will be a stand down period of approx 6 months to see if the Will is contested which is understandable. The executors must act in accordance with the wishes of the will.

5. Six or seven months pass and Jonny the son and other executor writes to the lawyer re the investment of funds in accordance with the wishes of the will - alas no reply from the lawyer (other executor)

6. Jonny rings, writes and faxes but gets no investment proposals with regard to cash on hand which may remain as part of the estate whereby beneficeries are to receive interest but not capital which is not uncommon.

7. No response from the other trusted party, the lawyer - the other executor.

8. Jonny asks for a statement, finally one is sent and the new charge of say $300.00 per hour has been charged to the estate by the lawyer - the market rate right, remember the clause in the Will inserted by the lawyer which mum and dad agreed to, but yep the rate has gone up. The lawyers fees have been taken by deduction without approval of Jonny the other executor.

9. There are now problems, fees charged and deducted by the lawyer and what is happening to mum and dads money - what is the investment strategy, why are there fees being charged, what is the lawyer doing? Still no meaning full response from the lawyer.

10. What now? Make a complaint to the lawyers local pals in the Law Society / Standards Committie, clearly there is a problem between executors and the Standards Committie points this out.

"Conflict Between Executors"

This is all that is required because conflict between executors are grounds to refer the matter to the court for directions as to how this estate should be managed going forward.

The lawyer, the other executor makes the application to the Court for directions as to how the estate should be run. The Court directs that all parties to the Will / Estate must have representation thus all benefeceries must have a lawyer appointed by the court to protect their interests.

"The Estate Pays For This"

Correspondance is exchanged between all lawyers, time and fees are racked up and it all comes from the estate.

Now here is the real cracker, the lawyer, executor, trusted party and applicant to the Court seeking directions - withdraws the application prior to the matter getting to court - but not before the estate funds have all been paid out in fees to the lawyers.

Mum and dads money is gone, nice, neat and legal.

Even if the matter does get to Court they will be unlikely to delve into why or how the Conflict arose.

"conflict between executors" is all that is necessary to establish for the Court applicant in order to kick the process into life.

This is just one potential estate clean out method. There are ways to deal with this but in the first instance people must recognize this potential and it seems like the Law Society/ Standards Committie has no real interest in informing the public of this potential - we can but wonder WHY ?






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  1. Robert Lee's Avatar
    I am currently dealing with a drama of one son who ran off with 90% of the estate leaving the other 10% to three of us - with the assistance of a lawyer and an accountant. The lawyer put a neat clause into the Family Trust Deed that automatically retired the trustees upon the death of Mum and Dad and the Executors of the estate automatically became the Trustees of the Trust. I doubt whether my parents understood this was to happen. We would have been at the mercy of the lawyers and accountant who of course could charge "professional fees". Fortunately I become aware of issues when Mum was still alive and she made my sister and I executors of her estate. In this capacity, my sister and I were able to bring a claim against the wayward brother. This would have been more difficult otherwise. I shudder to think what could have happened otherwise.

    I would recommend that trusted family members themselves become executors of the estate, rather than lawyers who are at best expensive and at worst cannot be trusted to act in the best interests of the family. I have found no good reason to have confidence in the "ethics" of lawyers. In fact, a Professor friend of mine (not law) recently described legal ethics as "unusual". They are compromised by their "duty to the court" which overrides their duty to their client. They obviously have their own interests which, as demonstrated in the article above, can easily be accommodated when given half an opportunity.

    As far as their fees go, this is explicable by virtue of the monopoly on advocacy given to them by law. Non-lawyers cannot represent somebody else before the High Court no matter how competent and you are doomed to failure if you try and represent yourself. The judges ensure their legal colleagues get to "clip the ticket" on the way to justice, which itself can create a new injustice.
  2. flimflam's Avatar
    Beware. Conflict between executors is grounds to apply to the NZ Family Court to have the court determine how an estate is managed. Sounds reasonable - but wait, what if one executor is a lawyer. That executor behaves in a way which causes difficultity to the other executor/s.

    This is done in a variety of ways, charging too much, not getting off their arse etc. If that executor applies to the court to provide directions as to how the estate should be run due to conflict between executors, the court will direct that all beneficiaries of the estate require representation. This will happen without the conflict being assessed as to how it has come about.

    The estate pays for all of the representation and it gets emptied by the lawyer executor and his buddies due to all of their fees, often prior to any directions from the NZ Family Court.

    The court will focus on how the estate would be managed and will not canvas how the conflict between executors has come about. This would be a matter for the lawyer and executor's Standards Committie at the good old boys club called the NZ Scam Society who will determine that there seems to be irreconcilable differences between executors - giving the lawyer and executor the green light to apply to the court as to how the estate should be managed and emptied out. The process - good by to mum and dads life long work. The Scumb bag thieves took it - oh yeah it's all legal, no recourse.
    Updated 07-07-2014 at 12:56 AM by flimflam
  3. flimflam's Avatar
    Stay away from lawyers as executors, tell everyone.

    Stay away from lawyers as Trustees of Trusts - similar clean out methods apply for conflict between Trustees.

    You must have trusted family members as executors

    Parents must get a draft copy of their will, read it check it, get a second opinion from out of town.

    These people are not to be trusted.

    You make an astute observation Robert Lee - a lawyers order of priorities, what is it?

    Themselves
    The court
    The client

    Or

    Themselves
    The court
    Their Scumbags local buddies
    Their clients


    For every 386 adults in NZ there is a lawyer. This means some must go hungry and they will become more desperate and blatant.
    Updated 07-07-2014 at 01:07 AM by flimflam
  4. Q. C.'s Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by flimflam
    Stay away from lawyers as executors, tell everyone. Stay away from lawyers as Trustees of Trusts - similar clean out methods apply for conflict between Trustees.

    ....These people are not to be trusted...
    Flimflam: Absolutely perfect advice, as confirmed from my own direct experience and from those experiences of other professionals.

    As a professional I sat in a meeting and overheard two highly respected lawyers discussing a once wealth estate. The lawyer executor confirmed he had finally wound up the estate after 6 or so years - the mutual amusement (out loud) between them was the executor lawyer's confirmation that the estate had finally been drained of money as a result of legal fees, so there was no point in keeping the estate going.

    As I did not record the conversation any complaint to the Law Society would have been totally futile (for the reasons Flimflam has already stated), as would any protest by me to the respected lawyer concerned.
  5. Yoda's Avatar
    The lawyer executor confirmed he had finally wound up the estate after 6 or so years - the mutual amusement (out loud) between them was the executor lawyer's confirmation that the estate had finally been drained of money as a result of legal fees, so there was no point in keeping the estate going.

    As I did not record the conversation any complaint to the Law Society would have been totally futile (for the reasons Flimflam has already stated), as would any protest by me to the respected lawyer concerned.


    Isn't this something that people of New Zealand should be concerned about?

    In most countries, this matter will be criminally investigated (and prosecuted if there are enough evidences).
  6. John "Brockovich"'s Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Yoda
    [B]...In most countries, this matter will be criminally investigated (and prosecuted if there are enough evidences).
    Yoda: NZ is not like most countries. In NZ the Police, SFO and Law Society refuse to investigate members of the Law Society (the Solicitor-General and his Deputies) for using their 'statutory authority' to stop their own criminal prosecution (for perverting the course of justice).

    What chance does a mere complaint (by Flimflam or other), of a lawyer ripping of an Estate, have!