26 Years in Probate??? Yes, It Does Happen!

We often talk about avoiding probate not only for the cost of the process but also because of the immense amount of time that it can take to do so. Generally, a probate should take anywhere from a few months to maybe 2 years, but can you believe a probate that has been open for 26 years?!? Well, that is what is happening to one multimillionaire's Connecticut estate.

In 1986, a very successful businessman named F. Francis D'Addario died in a plane crash leaving his estate, valued at about $162 million, to be divided among is surviving wife and children. But then probate came. And then disputes, disputes, and more disputes due to the complicated structure of Mr. D'Addario's business holdings and companies. Then there is also the creditors that want their cut as well. One creditor, Cadle Corp., has filed a lawsuit to recoup that debt and accuse the probate court of a lack of judicial supervision and that the millions and millions have been drained by this ridiculously long probate. Even a previous judge on the case recused himself.

The probate files had been sealed for years. This prevented the creditor's lawyers from examining the estate. It wasn't until last fall that the file was actually opened. It was only then that they discovered the estate was basically insolvent.

Of course this is a pretty extreme case. Rarely would a probate ever carry on for such a long time, but when you are dealing with such large amounts of assets and complicated business ownership structures, you can be assured of a lengthy probate. One wonders that if a proper trust had been established could this all have been avoided?

Please contact a professional Trust Attorney when you have an estate that has a substantial financial worth. You wouldn't want to see your successes slip through your beneficiaries hands and go down the drain.

*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.

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