DEAR HARRY: Last December, my mother got a letter from a lawyer in Virginia telling her that a cousin had died and left her $10,000 in his will. Since then, nothing has happened. Neither the lawyer nor the executor (another cousin) has contacted her. We tried calling the executor several times and left messages on an answering machine, but never a reply. A letter was returned by the post office indicating a move with no forwarding address. What should we do? Any chance that my mother will get any of that money?
WHAT HARRY SAYS: Have you tried to call the lawyer? His phone number should be on the letter he sent to your mother. You can be fairly certain that you'll get help from him. That executor very likely is still in possession of the $10,000. It may be that the estate distribution is being held up for some reason or that the executor had sticky fingers. I'm not encouraged by that returned letter. A few years ago, a friend was told by another heir that a deceased friend had left her $5,000 in his will. She was never notified by the executor, who happened to be a lawyer and an heir. Under the threat of being reported to the bar association, the executor sent the money in the next mail. Over the years, I've had many letters similar to yours. I suppose we all have to be extremely vigilant every time we are potential heirs.
Email Harry Gross at harrygrossDN@gmail.com, or write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red-Cross.