My mother passed away on February 23, 2012. She set up her will with a local attorney, who my sister and I (co-executors of mom’s will) met on February 29. During this visit, we signed an agreement with this attorney to have him assist us with the estate work. We filled mom’s will in the Montgomery County Courthouse the next day (2/30/12), where we received copies of a short note. After this meeting, we agreed to meet with the attorney again upon his return from business in two weeks.
Two weeks have passed and my sister contacted this attorney to set up a meeting this week. During this phone call, the lawyer attempted to get my sister to deposit the contents of my mother’s bank account into an estate account (however, during the initial meeting, this attorney told us that the bank account was not part of the estate since both my sister & I are already listed on this checking account). We had a tentative meeting for Tuesday, March 20, 2012.
When confirming the meeting over the phone on Monday, March 19, this attorney now stated that, when he attempted to obtain the estate tax ID number, he was told that someone had already filed for a tax ID number for my mother’s estate under my sister’s name but with a different address. Because of this the lawyer said he was “no longer comfortable handling my mother’s estate” and would mail us our documents (short note, original will, etc.) after we pay his bill for services rendered (which he stated that he also put in the mail).
None of this makes any sense to me, as you have a lawyer to protect you from just this type of situation; why did the attorney wait two weeks to file for the tax ID number; now we do not even have ready access to the will during this possible crisis; and this attorney is planning to mail (I requested to pick up the documents) documents which could put the estate in further risk.
I’ve never needed to deal with an attorney for legal matters before, however this seems like suspect legal behavior.
What is my next step? Any help or direction you can give would be greatly appreciated.