For the last few years I have been peripherally involved in a legal struggle concerning an inheritance that has been held up in the courts. My cousin in Puerto Rico is entitled to certain funds from her late husband’s estate, but the courts refuse to release the funds to her because her son and daughter, my cousin Rudy, and myself may have a claim to these funds.
None of us wants this money, and we have signed and delivered to the attorneys involved notarized documents declaring we have no interest in pursuing this inheritance. In other words, we are all eager to see my elder cousin receives this cash–she needs it much more than we do. Yesterday, I received yet another request for another copy of a notarized form releasing these funds to her, as did my cousin Rudy. We all filled out identical forms two years ago.
I filled the form out, notarized and mailed it, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to call the lawyer that issued the request and ask why was it necessary to go through all this run-around again, given that everyone concerned had already conceded their wishes in the matter. I asked the attorney if she had ever read Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House”, a 19th century novel about a great inheritance held up in the courts while the recipients suffered great financial hardship, and the legal system and the lawyers nickeled-and-dimed the estate with technicalities until it dwindled away. Remember, no matter how the estate is eventually divided, the lawyers (on both sides) always get payed first, they have every incentive to prolong and delay the case as long as possible.
The lawyer said she had never read”Bleak House”, and she didn’t have any idea who Charles Dickens was.