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Jack R.
Jack R., Attorney
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My Uncle passed away a little over a month ago. I am a Co-Trustee

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My Uncle passed away a little over a month ago. I am a Co-Trustee in his will. The other Co-Trustee is also the Personal Representative in the Will. I found out yesterday that the attorney that the Personal Representative hired is not representing the estate itself, he was hired by the Personal Representative to act as his personal legal council. In other words the Personal Representative has legal representation, but no attorney has been hired to represent the estate itself. My question is; Shouldn't the Personal Representative have hired an attorney on behalf of the estate. Someone to review the will, explain the contents to all beneficiaries, make recommendations on establishing value of the assets, but most importantly not represent any one particular beneficiary?

The personal representative is not required to hire any attorney at all. The personal representative is required to make sure that the administration of the deceased last wishes are handled properly. This can include tax issues, property distribution issues, paying bills, and handling legal issues surrounding the estate. ( see


To the extent an attorney is needed to fulfill those functions the personal representative is well within his/her right to engage an attorney for limited purposes. The attorney does not have to handle all aspects of the estate. For example a tax attorney could have been hired just to handle taxes.


A beneficiary can and in many cases do hire their own lawyers to make sure they get what they are entitled to under a will. This is not unusual and should not be paid out of the estate. If the personal representative is using estate funds for the purpose of his/her own personal gain this is improper. You can ask a court to have the beneficiary removed, and the estate reimbursed for the money spent. As co-trustees you should discuss the use and purpose of counsel as well as how the attorney is being paid with each other.


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This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship.Information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information.




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