Our naive mom had a lawyer do a will appointing all three living children as executors. This was our mom, with about a seventh grade education, not having any clue to what was the correct way to write a will. This supposed lawyer, who mom paid, honored her request. Then 5 years later, my sister and I were forced to petition the court for guardianship and conservator of our mom who had vascular dementia. It was not a memorable time in all our lives. Needless to say the roles of guardian and conservator were taxing mentally, monetarily, time consuming and physically challenging.
Just three weeks after mom's home going, the bank froze her account which I had access as conservator. I never paid myself any money for my overseeing mom/her estate and care (the court allows a 2% to the conservator). She drew $1170.20 per month. The court had advised the conservator to not petition for dismissal for approximately 2 months after mom's death. Essentially all of her bills were up to date (thank God) with the exception of the funeral expense. When the bank froze her account, her funeral expenses were paid in full by a sibling with the understanding of reimbursement from the estate when the demands of the court system were met.
We did everything the court asked. Legals for any "unknown heirs" ran in the legal system for one month. THEN, the will was probated in the legals for another month.
My sister/guardian, myself/conservator and our brother went before the probate judge to take oath regarding our knowledge of this being mom's last wil. The probate judge commented AFTER the oath, she wished us luck in trying to access the estate/bank account with all three living children listed as executors.
The court sent a bill with a breakdown of services "to remit upon receipt". The CASH FUNDS ONLY ACCEPTED included charges going towards the probate judge's retirement fund. This money was personally funded due to the estate account was frozen. Then after receiving a clearance letter from the court, accessing the estate banking account is still unsuccessful.
We have since been advised by another bank, the probate court could have had 2 of the 3 siblings sign off to appoint the other sibling as sole executor. When the probate judge was approached regarding this, initially her response was she was not aware of such a response. When my sister clarified what was needed, the probate judge's response was since we had probated the will it was too late. She then advised seeking an attorney.
My question, is there any other avenue to take besides legal advisement?
We have recently been informed by an honest and ethical paralegal, another lawyer, who acted on behalf of individuals as their conservator, is having a difficult time getting paper work returned in a timely fashion from this same probate judge. I could easily say I have had a half dozen papers lost by this probate court system. This probate judge had her clerk of court notify the need of a meeting in her quarters for a "failed to report" when mom's house was sold (even properly having petitioned the court AND receiving permission to do so). This was necessary to fund her care in assisted living and memory care. The judge was informed the report was sent by registered mail and signed by one of her employees three weeks (yes, weeks) after selling and closing. Is this incompetence of this public office's duties?
As guardian and conservator we are far from uneducated. We both are professionals and college graduates. My heart goes out to people who do not have the mentality to work through all the red tape.
Also, would there be someone higher up the judicial system to ask, file a complaint, etc about this probate court's actions?
God knows, we were told many times during this very difficult journey by the judge she could advise us on anything because that was practicing law.

Deeply appreciative of any ideas.

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Again, I apologize for some grammatical errors. 🙈
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Mally1 and GardenArtist thank you so much for your responses. Your suggestions are sincerely appreciated in this puzzling situation we find ourselves dealing with.
The bank actually froze the account according to the state regulations apparently after her next social security check had been deposited and withdrawn less than three weeks after her death.
My sister and I were on the account before we had to petition for guardianship and conservator. Probate court instructed only the conservator could access the account. Records were meticulously kept with court reports filed before the deadline. After going to the bank on multiple occasions to talk to the head teller, customer service three times and then bank manager, we were at a standstill. Court personnel were made aware of the situation when we first became aware of the frozen account. The comment by one was "I would go to the bank and pitch a fit!" Needless to say, this is not in our character. If a fit pitching had taken place, we would probably have been arrested and not welcomed back the four times we returned to talk with bank personnel. 😉
No, we still can not access any funds. The will was probated as we were told had to be done. The court has the closed the case.
We are currently awaiting a advice from the attorney how to proceed.
It has been a journey I would not wish on anyone. I find it difficult to understand how an elected and paid public servant can appear so incompetent and not have the ability to aid and guide citizens. It would be so good to close this chapter and move on with our lives.

I hope this may give you a little more understanding of our situation. A sincere and heartfelt thank you for your thoughtfulness and caring. Keep us in your prayers.
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Kid, I've read your post twice and am still confused why the Probate Court froze the account. Can you elaborate?

The goof on appearing for a meeting scheduled by the judge might have been attributable to one of her staff, which normally would handle the paperwork w/o the judge even getting involved.

What is the status of the probate action now? Is it still pending? Been closed out?

But you still can't access the funds, right?

What other advice did the attorney give you on moving forward?

I think I would wait until all the funds were released (and the bank should advise you as well why they've frozen the account) before taking any action. Then I would consider filing a complaint with the Grievance section of the State Bar of the state.

In the meantime, you might want to check the Grievance section of the State Bar's website to see if other complaints have been filed against this judge. If there are others, what, if any, action was taken?

I can tell from your post that you are educated; you're very articulate. Maybe you're smarter than the judge and she was threatened by you???

This mystifies me.
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For heaven's sake! Never heard of such a mess..... We have a senator and a house member in our state that often say they will help with such things.... maybe you do, too?  Or the state attorney general?  
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The judge said she *could not advise us on anything because it was considered practicing law.

Please, I do apologize for typos. Plus I hope you can make sense of the tangled web we are living in.
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