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RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36398
Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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Background: Nine years ago, as executor of my Mothers estate,

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Nine years ago, as executor of my Mother's estate, I hired an estate law firm to handle some estate matters (call this law firm the estate attorney). My last discussion with the estate attorney was eight years ago. Recently, an unresolved estate matter surfaced involving my brother. He hired an attorney of his own, and that attorney contacted the estate attorney. The estate attorney contacted me and asked when this issue (payment of $25K to my brother) would be resolved.

This $25K payment was contingent upon the sale of land that was discovered six years ago to have wetlands issues. I have been working with NJDEP to get a variance, and that is likely to occur in one year. When it does, and the sale proceeds, my brother will be paid.

All of my communications go directly, who forwards them to his attorney. The matter is rather simple, and I don't need the estate attorney's help. My brother's attorney, however, continues to engage with the estate attorney, and the estate attorney bills me. I've asked the estate attorney to back off. I've told them their services are no longer needed. They claim that BY LAW, they MUST stay involved until all matters are resolved, no matter HOW LONG that takes. They just sent me an email to tell me this, and closed email by writing I would not be billed for that email. State this is occurring in is New Jersey

Question 1:
Is the estate attorney correct?

Question 2: If the answer to Q1 is no, what legal jargon can I give the estate attorney to tell them to back off, your services are no longer required?

Thanks for your question and good afternoon.My sympathy here for your situiation.

Question 1:
Is the estate attorney correct?

Answer:You have the right to terminate the lawyer for the estate.As long as the lawyer represents the estate the other parties are required to communicate through the estate lawyer.Any legal fees incurred from the estate lawyer should be paid by the estate here not you personally.

Question 2: If the answer to Q1 is no, what legal jargon can I give the estate attorney to tell them to back off, your services are no longer required?

Answer:You have the right to terminate the lawyer for the estate here if you are the executor/admimistrator.Thats a personal decision, you have to decide if you want to self represent the estate in court.If you did so then you would have personal liability for any errors as far as probate--but again that's your call. The estate lawyer has to continue to represent you here unless terminated by you as executor.They have professional liability to the estate until terminated.If you terminate them then they would file a withdrawal with the probate court.



Here are the ethical rules that apply to the lawyer..



A lawyer who is discharged from a representation by the client must withdraw from the matter pursuant to RPC 1.16(a)(3). A client may dismiss his or her attorney at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. See Cohen v. ROU, 146 N.J. 140, 157 (1996), aff�g as modified 275 N.J. Super. 241, 255 (App. Div. 1994); Dinter v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 278 N.J. Super. 521, 531 (App. Div.), certif. den. 140 N.J. 329 (1995); In re Estate of Poli, 134 N.J. Super. 222, 226-227 (Cty. Ct. 1975).

It has been my pleasure to assist you today.Please let me know if you have more follow up.Thanks again for letting me help.



I hope that you will be so kind as to leave a positive rating. If you do have any additional questions about my answer please click the "Continue Conversation Link" so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. Please be aware that any rating of 1 or 2 is reflected as a negative rating and I receive no credit for my answers.


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

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Ray. Just what I needed.

You are so welcome.Good luck and thanks for letting me help you today.If you can leave a positive rating it is much appreciated.
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