'Twas the Night Before Probate

Dec 25, 2023
Attorney in Santa Hat in Front of a Santa Claus with presents

‘Twas the night before probate, and all through the house

Not an asset was spared, for there was no spouse

Nor were there children, or any appointed heirs

For the deceased had no plans, nor had he cared


The forms were stacked high, with supporting documentation

Billable hours were spent, mostly in frustration

The invoices were getting high, and the sister wanted it done

But the filings were needed, every single one


The administrator was waiting, an appointment he needed

To start moving assets to the sister who pleaded

She had no cash or credit, and the bills piled high

But he could not yet move assets, for his hands were tied


To add to the mess, the parents’ probate was still open

And the brother’s estate was now a beneficiary unchosen

Two years and more the parents’ assets for him waited

In an out of state court system, added up to the time cited


From one estate to another before going to her account

To the sister I explained, and of course she had doubt

“How can a system be so frustratingly complex?”

And I told her the probate court does not give a heck


Exasperating, time-consuming, and stupidity filled

And for every hour I would now have to bill

If only a trust had been the brother’s investment

The sister would not now be filled with resentment


The friend as the Administrator would’ve had his job done

In the blink of an eye, or a month totaling one

But that was not to be as he did not plan ahead

‘Cause at fifty-three he did not expect to be dead


Now to my horror the phone did just ring

And the chosen administrator told me something

The house of the brother being used by the sister

Had a fire today and it was a disaster


While the fire was small, it was apparently enough

To kill the sister and most of their stuff

And so tragedy struck a family once so content

That all were now gone without taking a cent


With the sister now gone, the brother’s estate had to continue

But the heir was her estate, and more craziness would ensue

Cousins from the woodwork started to appear

Wanting to take the accounts quickly and with cheer


As I tried to explain the process to take

With more frustration they started to shake

From the parents estate to the brother’s then hers

The assets would travel before it was theirs


At least a year before they saw a dime

And meanwhile I had to bill for my time

Three trusts to set up would have been my preference

But now years and twenty times the cost I did reference


And that excluded the probate for the parents in Jersey

And the added probate for the sister was still blurry

If only had the parents and brother and sister as remainder

Had planned with a trust instead of funding my retainer


Now there was nothing left but to revise the filings

For the heir was no more in the papers that were piling

As much as I hated handling the probate court process

Because of the ill-planned, my practice was a success

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