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    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,103, Reputation: 10852
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    #21

    Jan 13, 2018, 04:08 PM
    You have the easy part, just answer honestly, and let the expert with the knowledge and resources earn his pay.

    Relax guy!
    coblas's Avatar
    coblas Posts: 137, Reputation: 2
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    #22

    Jan 15, 2018, 08:05 AM
    As I mentioned, the lawyer I already spoke to (who sent me the original will and would be willing to handle opening probate, negotiating with the funeral director, and closing probate) told me if I file the Small Estate Affidavit it would speed up the process. Since that conversation, I noticed that the form for the Affidavit states that it can't be filed if an application for probate has already been filed. I think he should know that. I haven't been able to find any information about him. I've been looking for another lawyer, but I realize they might not want to waste their time with this small case so I might have to go back to the first one. Very frustrating.

    fyi--I'm female.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,103, Reputation: 10852
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    #23

    Jan 15, 2018, 09:21 AM
    Please accept my apology and forgive my assumption.

    I've been looking for another lawyer, but I realize they might not want to waste their time with this small case so I might have to go back to the first one. Very frustrating.
    At this point you can always do a Google check on this lawyer, and also review others in your area. Your friend trusted him enough to use him, and that would be good enough for me to keep using him, unless you know of a better lawyer that YOU trusted. Size may not matter as much a you think, and there is nothing lost in inquiring.

    It's a daunting process for a novice, man or woman, I get that, and I get its worse when you are in the middle of mourning a great loss. Got a trusted friend to support you through this event that's obviously still fresh on your mind and heart? Sorry I could not be of more help, but good luck and sorry for your loss.
    coblas's Avatar
    coblas Posts: 137, Reputation: 2
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    #24

    Jan 15, 2018, 09:59 AM
    I did several Google checks and have found no listing of this lawyer anywhere. The lawyer who prepared the will passed away in 2010 and I finally located this firm as having the deceased lawyer's files. No way to know how many hands it went through before they got it. He isn't listed on their website which shows the firm specializes in business, environmental, liquor licenses, and real estate. When I called them for the will they said he'd call me since he has done probate. He did call and that was my only conversation with him so far. (Please see my comments from January 4, 2018.) So far I've gotten only one call back from another firm which was a rejection. I'm waiting for replies from two others. I may have to go with lawyer #1 since I don't know what to do about the affidavit I'd have to sign (my message from January 13, 2018).

    Thank you for trying to help.
    coblas's Avatar
    coblas Posts: 137, Reputation: 2
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    #25

    Jan 24, 2018, 09:28 AM
    Well, I'm back. I received the original will from the lawyer and the staples had been removed and replaced. I knew from my research that this is not okay for obvious reasons. The lawyer who sent me the original will did not return my call about it. When I told one lawyer about it he said I need a staples affidavit. I researched it and prepared one. That same lawyer is not willing to take the case because it's not worth it. I got the same response from 2 other lawyers. I'm not eligible for free legal services in my area (New York State). Even if I was, they would only help me prepare the Small Estate Affidavit which I think I've done correctly myself. Bottom line--do I have to file anything or can I just pay the bills myself and lose what's left in my friend's checking account? Surrogate's Court said they can't advise me and that I need to check with a lawyer.
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,801, Reputation: 2674
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    #26

    Jan 25, 2018, 08:06 AM
    I don't think you have to file anything. You have gone from pillar to post with this. Just end it all and pay the bills yourself and end this and move on so you don't drive yourself nuts with it. Or, coblas, do you have issues in your day to day life making decisions that hinder the end result; and you are never ever sure YOU have not made the right one? I am not being rude, and respect what you want to do correctly, but this could go on and on and on without closure.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,103, Reputation: 10852
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    #27

    Jan 25, 2018, 09:42 AM
    Bury your friend, mourn and heal, take your documents to the bank and claim repayment for his burial at the prescribed time, Wait for the process to proceed and complete itself. That may take time. At some point the research stops, and you must act.

    It seem from what you wrote you want to be reimbursed, and get paid beyond that. For that the will must be probated and additional and more expensive filing fees will likely eat up any gain you expect. You can research all that later and decide on what's the next step if any.

    In such a small estate, the added TIME and stress may not even be worth it. Do what you can and be done with this before you drive yourself crazy, making the healing process even harder. Your state gives you an easy way out, so why are you complicating an already complicated process?

    This whole thing will be better handled if you do what you can and let your emotional dust settle. You can't rush that either.

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