Buried in Paperwork? Suffolk County Probate & Family Court Dysfunction Causes Chaos | Estate Plan Pros
Buried in Paperwork?  Suffolk County Probate & Family Court Dysfunction Causes Chaos

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Missing files.  Unprocessed checks totaling several hundred thousand dollars in filing fees.  A procedural and paperwork mess that saw pleadings as far back as 2015 not docketed or scanned.  The legal system is complicated enough, but when clerks behind the counter can’t handle the paperwork, the system doesn’t function.  And unfortunately, that is exactly what happened in the Suffolk County Probate & Family Court in Massachusetts.

It was apparently an office already in trouble, the prior Register in charge of the office lost her seat after allegedly assaulting an employee after a holiday party.  In 2014, with a new Register, the situation didn’t improve.  The court brought in a temporary manager in October 2016 who found fifty bins of files scattered throughout the office.  They estimated that an average of 20-30 cases went missing on any given day. 

In California, the court system went through a rough patch when the statewide budget cuts hit.  Things have improved, and overall thankfully, our local Sacramento office runs well. 

Usually, when I discuss the probate process, and the reasons why you should avoid it, I assume a functional court.  Unfortunately, this story illustrates that isn’t always a safe assumption. 

Source: Severe dysfunction alleged in Suffolk Probate, Boston Globe, March 17, 2017

 

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Erik Hartstrom

Erik is the founder of Estate Plan Pros, a leading estate planning practice in Elk Grove.  Erik’s practice focuses on Estate Planning Law. In Estate Planning, Erik works with clients to make the process simple, so clients can focus on more important things. He is a local authority for specialized estate planning instruments, like Special Needs Trust, Irrevocable Trusts, or other focused documents. Erik has litigated, negotiated, and mediated the gamut of family law cases. With this unique perspective as a family law and estate attorney he can often spot issues otherwise overlooked. Prior to graduating he worked as a legislative analyst for a non-profit organization, and volunteered as a youth counselor. Erik currently participates in local politics and is an active member of his local church. Erik is very happily married and has two young sons. Together, his family loves to get outdoors and enjoy the varied activities the Sacramento region has to offer.


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