Difficulties of Pro Se Representation

By HSK, September 25, 2014

The second district court of appeals recently underscored the perils of pro se representation and how much it can cost someone personally to make a mistake as a fiduciary.  A woman died without a will.  Two of her three children were still alive, as well as the children of a child that had predeceased her.  One of the woman’s children opened up an estate but did not include the children of the deceased sibling for distribution of assets or even notice of the probate.  Ten years later those overlooked grandchildren found out that were left out.  They sued to get their money from their aunt and won.  The aunt that acted as the fiduciary will now have to dig into her own pocket and come up with money for her nieces and nephews.  She will also have to cover for the money owed from the amount she overpaid her surviving sibling if that sibling no longer has the money.  If you think that this is only limited to probate court, and that a trust can save you from such a fate, think again.  Overlooked trust beneficiaries can also sue.  Hire an attorney to make sure you get it right.  Those checks you sign with all of those zeros in them can come back to haunt you in the worst way.

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