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Can I have a better understanding of the responsibilities of an attorney to the expectations of their client when establishing a checking account for an estate?

This legal question related to probate in Texas has been answered.

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Location: Texas  |  Law type: probate Commented 1x
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The probate attorney that my brother, the administrator of our father’s estate at the time, retained did not request that my brother bring proof that he had in truth opened or established an estate checking account after the judge had ruled that he could transfer the monies from our deceased father’s checking account into an estate account.  Since our attorney did not require that my brother return to his office with the deposit slip a checking account number and a checkbook for the estate my brother took the money and deposited into his own personal checking account.  Later he cashed out and closed his account and ran off with the estate monies.

In the state of Texas, do attorneys not have to make sure that the Law is followed by the estate administrators in both taking responsibility that an estate’s monies are in a secure bank checking account and by making sure that the administrator of the estate is taking his job, as the estate‘s administrator, lawfully?

Does the attorney not have a responsibility, to the rest of the heirs of the estate, to make sure that the appointed administrator is following the law?

If the attorney doesn’t keep track and the administrator embezzles the funds what rights do the rest of the heirs have concerning the irresponsibility of both the appointed administrator and the attorney?

Thank you for helping me know what I,  as the new estate administrator, can legally do  concerning this attorney.  He just told me that he could no longer represent me (even though I paid the larger portion of his retainer) because of what my brother had done.  So I lost my retainer and lost my part of the estate monies.

I appreciate any information that I legally have.


Responsibilities of an Attorney in Establishing a Checking Account for an Estate

As the new estate administrator, you have a right to know the responsibilities of an attorney when it comes to establishing a checking account for an estate. In the state of Texas, attorneys have a duty to provide competent representation to their clients and to abide by the rules of professional conduct.

The attorney in your case should have ensured that your brother, as the estate administrator, opened an estate checking account and provided proof of this to the court. The attorney should have also verified that your brother was following the law and his duties as the administrator of the estate.

If an attorney fails to perform their duties and an administrator embezzles funds, the heirs of the estate may have the right to take legal action against both the attorney and the administrator. However, the specific legal rights and remedies available will depend on the individual circumstances of each case.

As for your situation, it is concerning that the attorney you hired to represent you in this matter has withdrawn from representation. You may want to consider seeking the advice of another attorney who can help you understand your legal options.

Possible Solutions from the Legal Perspective

There are several legal options available to you if you believe that your attorney has not fulfilled their duties in representing you or if you believe that your brother has embezzled estate funds. These may include:

  1. Filing a complaint with the State Bar of Texas: If you believe that your attorney has violated the rules of professional conduct, you may file a complaint with the State Bar of Texas. The State Bar investigates complaints of attorney misconduct and may take disciplinary action against attorneys who violate the rules.

  2. Filing a lawsuit against your brother: If you believe that your brother has embezzled estate funds, you may be able to file a lawsuit against him to recover the funds.

  3. Hiring a new attorney: If your previous attorney has withdrawn from representation, you may want to consider hiring a new attorney who can help you understand your legal options and represent you in any legal actions that you may take.

Relevant Authorities in Texas

If you need additional information about the legal rights and responsibilities of attorneys and estate administrators in Texas, you may want to consult the following authorities:

  1. Texas Probate Code: This code outlines the rules and procedures that must be followed in the administration of estates in Texas.

  2. Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct: These rules set out the ethical standards that attorneys must follow when representing clients in Texas.

  3. State Bar of Texas: The State Bar of Texas is the professional association for attorneys in Texas and provides resources and services to its members.

Rates for Various Legal Services in Texas

The cost of legal services in Texas can vary depending on the complexity of the legal issue and the experience and reputation of the attorney. According to Explore Lawyers, the average hourly rate for attorneys in Texas is $250-$350 per hour.

Here is a table of estimated rates for various legal services in Texas:

Legal Service Estimated Cost
Estate Planning $1,000-$3,000
Probate Administration $3,000-$7,000
Civil Litigation $200-$500 per hour
Criminal Defense $2,000-$10,000

Examples of Similar Legal Issues with Possible Solutions

  1. In a case where an attorney fails to ensure that an estate administrator opens an estate checking account and the administrator embezzles funds, the heirs of the estate may be able to file a lawsuit against both the attorney and the administrator to recover the funds.

Commonly posted questions...

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6 months 2 weeks ago, probate, Annapolis
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Legal Solution

The response provided below is specific to probate in the jurisdiction of Texas. If the response is inadequate, please submit a detailed inquiry.

The Responsibility and Accountability of Attorneys in Texas' Probate Process

The given situation highlights a grave breach of duty on part of the estate administrator and potential negligence by the retained attorney. In Texas, probate proceedings are meant to be governed by strict rules to ensure that the wishes of the decedent are honored and that the estate's assets are appropriately managed and distributed.

Relevant Statutes in Texas:

  • Texas Estates Code
  • Texas Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Texas Probate Code (though much of it is superseded by the Texas Estates Code)

For a more comprehensive understanding, you may refer to the Texas Legislature Online. This provides a full repository of Texas laws and statutes.

Possible Solutions for the Described Problem:

  1. Hire a New Attorney: It would be beneficial to hire a new attorney specializing in probate law. You can find the right lawyer well-versed with Texas probate law to help you navigate this complex situation.

  2. File a Complaint Against the Previous Attorney: If the attorney failed in their fiduciary duty, it might be possible to file a complaint with the State Bar of Texas.

  3. Civil Lawsuit against the Administrator: Considering the embezzlement of estate funds by the administrator, a civil lawsuit can be filed to recover the embezzled amounts.

  4. Criminal Charges: Misappropriation of estate funds can also lead to criminal charges against the administrator. It might be beneficial to consult with a district attorney or another legal authority about pursuing such charges.

Average Prices for Legal Services in Texas:

Service Average Cost (USD)
Initial Consultation with a Probate Attorney $200 - $500
Full Estate Administration Service $2,500 - $5,000
Civil Lawsuit Filing & Representation $5,000 - $25,000
Estate Audit or Forensic Accounting $1,500 - $4,000
Criminal Defense for Embezzlement $7,000 - $20,000

Please note that these prices are approximate and can vary depending on the specifics of the case and the chosen attorney's experience and reputation.

Further Clarification:

It would be beneficial to gain a more in-depth understanding of the sequence of events and specific actions (or inactions) of the attorney in question. Were there any written communications or explicit instructions given to the administrator?

Important Questions for Further Assessment:

  1. Did the attorney provide any written advice or instructions to the administrator post the court's decision?
  2. Were there any existing disputes among the heirs before the mismanagement of the funds?
  3. Has there been any attempt to communicate with the delinquent administrator after the misappropriation of funds?

Q1: What is the role of a probate attorney in Texas?

A probate attorney in Texas is responsible for guiding the estate's executor or administrator through the probate process. This includes ensuring all legal obligations are met, assets are protected, and distributions are made according to the will or Texas law.

Q2: Is an attorney liable for the actions of an estate administrator?

While an attorney is expected to provide legal advice and ensure that the administrator understands their responsibilities, they are not generally held liable for the actions of the administrator. However, if there is evidence of negligence or malpractice on the part of the attorney, there may be grounds for a complaint or lawsuit.

Q3: How can heirs recover misappropriated estate funds in Texas?

Heirs can potentially file a civil lawsuit against the errant administrator to recover embezzled funds. Additionally, criminal charges might be pursued, leading to potential restitution orders in favor of the estate.

Q4: How are attorney fees determined in Texas for probate matters?

Attorney fees in Texas can be based on hourly rates, flat fees, or a percentage of the estate's value. The specific arrangement usually depends on the complexity of the estate and the attorney's pricing structure.

Q5: What actions can be taken against an attorney suspected of malpractice in Texas?

If an attorney is believed to have acted negligently or in violation of their professional duties, a complaint can be filed with the State Bar of Texas. In some cases, a malpractice lawsuit may also be appropriate.

Remember, understanding your rights and the available remedies is crucial. Take the time to compare lawyers in your area and ensure you get the best possible representation.

Disclaimer

This content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.

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Legal question "Can I have a better understanding of the responsibilities of an attorney to the expectations of their client when establishing a checking account for an estate?" has been changed 9 months ago. Demonstrate your legal skills and willingness to help and answer right now! Issue is related to the location of Texas & area of law: probate.
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"Can I have a better understanding of the responsibilities of an attorney to the expectations of their client when establishing a checking account for an estate?"

probate Texas

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Fri, 05/05/2023 - 08:28

Responsibilities of an Attorney in Establishing a Checking Account for an Estate

As the new estate administrator, you have a right to know the responsibilities of an attorney when it comes to establishing a checking account for an estate. In the state of Texas, attorneys have a duty to provide competent representation to their clients and to abide by the rules of professional conduct.

The attorney in your case should have ensured that your brother, as the estate administrator, opened an estate checking account and provided proof of this to the court. The attorney should have also verified that your brother was following the law and his duties as the administrator of the estate.

If an attorney fails to perform their duties and an administrator embezzles funds, the heirs of the estate may have the right to take legal action against both the attorney and the administrator. However, the specific legal rights and remedies available will depend on the individual circumstances of each case.

As for your situation, it is concerning that the attorney you hired to represent you in this matter has withdrawn from representation. You may want to consider seeking the advice of another attorney who can help you understand your legal options.

Possible Solutions from the Legal Perspective

There are several legal options available to you if you believe that your attorney has not fulfilled their duties in representing you or if you believe that your brother has embezzled estate funds. These may include:

  1. Filing a complaint with the State Bar of Texas: If you believe that your attorney has violated the rules of professional conduct, you may file a complaint with the State Bar of Texas. The State Bar investigates complaints of attorney misconduct and may take disciplinary action against attorneys who violate the rules.

  2. Filing a lawsuit against your brother: If you believe that your brother has embezzled estate funds, you may be able to file a lawsuit against him to recover the funds.

  3. Hiring a new attorney: If your previous attorney has withdrawn from representation, you may want to consider hiring a new attorney who can help you understand your legal options and represent you in any legal actions that you may take.

Relevant Authorities in Texas

If you need additional information about the legal rights and responsibilities of attorneys and estate administrators in Texas, you may want to consult the following authorities:

  1. Texas Probate Code: This code outlines the rules and procedures that must be followed in the administration of estates in Texas.

  2. Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct: These rules set out the ethical standards that attorneys must follow when representing clients in Texas.

  3. State Bar of Texas: The State Bar of Texas is the professional association for attorneys in Texas and provides resources and services to its members.

Rates for Various Legal Services in Texas

The cost of legal services in Texas can vary depending on the complexity of the legal issue and the experience and reputation of the attorney. According to Explore Lawyers, the average hourly rate for attorneys in Texas is $250-$350 per hour.

Here is a table of estimated rates for various legal services in Texas:

Legal Service Estimated Cost
Estate Planning $1,000-$3,000
Probate Administration $3,000-$7,000
Civil Litigation $200-$500 per hour
Criminal Defense $2,000-$10,000
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