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Complaint about Estate Attorney

2 Answers. Asked on Jan 24th, 2017 on Legal Malpractice - New York
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My wrongful-death suit is being prolonged because my Estate Attorney hasn't filed revisions requested by Surrogate's Court since Novermber 18, 2016. Estate Att. claims they are asking for documents that have never been requested for any of their other cases. Surrogate's Court reply... "Wrong. These are documents needed for every case. And they certainly know it." Estate Attorney won't even give them the date I retained a lawyer to open my case. I can't force them to do their job! Is this a case for negligence?
Answers Showing 2 out of 2
Answered on Jan 28th, 2017 at 6:41 PM

If I had a dime for every time a court clerk asked me for a revision that was NEVER requested in any of my other cases....

It's foolish to argue with a court clerk, unless they mistakenly ask for something that's invasive for your client and not required under the statute. That's happened to me exactly once in over twenty years of practice. And yes, you CAN force your lawyer to do their job. Sometimes a nice polite letter from another lawyer (I guess your wrongful-death attorney hasn't had any luck) is all it takes.  Then there's always the option of a complaint to the attorney disciplinary committee.

Getting preliminary letters when there's a wrongful death suit to be filed (I hope the statute of limitations,  which is two years from the time of death, hasn't run) is one of the few things in Surrogate's Court that should always be fast, unless someone in the family objects to the person being appointed. If that's not the case, there's no excuse for the delay. I've never had a problem getting letters fast, in any court, when the clerk knows there's a property to be sold or a wrongful death case to be filed. If all else fails, get another estate lawyer to step in- and ask the first one for a refund of the legal fees paid. 

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Answered on Jan 26th, 2017 at 6:05 PM

No. You have no damages.  Just fire your lawyer and get a new one.

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Legal Malpractice
The vast majority of attorneys act ethically and diligently representing the interests of their clients. But what happens when you hire a lawyer who has a conflict of interest, makes errors in your representation, is negligent or breaches his or her fiduciary duty? In those instances, you may have grounds for a legal malpractice complaint or lawsuit. Law firms that represent the victims of legal malpractice can help you file a complaint with your state's lawyer registration and disciplinary commission, while also filing a civil lawsuit against your former attorney.
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