Do we have a professional malpractice claim?
My husband passed away while we were separated, but not yet divorced. Our Framingham house was in his name only so I hired a probate attorney. He told me it would be 6 months to a year before the estate was settled and I could get the house in my name. A few months after that a couple showed up and said they had just bought the house on sheriff sale. I had received no notification at all. Then I found out that my lawyer is close friends with the people that bought the house. What happened and what are my legal rights?
The circumstances here are suspicious but there may be some explanation for the events. A sheriff’s sale usually results from a judgment. If your husband was sued and had a judgment enter against him, it is possible that the house could have been sold through a sheriff’s sale, though if your husband died with assets in his name (such as life insurance), one would think that those assets would have been sufficient to pay off the creditor(s) who held the judgment. It may be possible to sue the attorney for malpractice. However, only the estate could do that unless the attorney was clearly representing both you personally and the estate. If the will named you as executrix of your husband’s estate, you as executrix could sue the attorney for malpractice.
Attorney Alan Fanger is a Massachusetts Probate litigation lawyer and professional malpractice attorney. He serves the entire Greater Boston and Boston metrowest region including Norfolk County, Suffolk County, Middlesex County and the communities of Arlington, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Canton, Concord, Dedham, Dover, Framingham, Lexington, Milton, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norwood, Quincy, Sherborn, Sudbury, Waltham, Wayland, Wellesley, and Weston, Massachusetts.