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If an executor asks questions of the estate attorney, and…

If an executor asks questions...
If an executor asks questions of the estate attorney, and sends those questions in writing, and asks for a response from the attorney in writing via email,
Can the attorney refuse to respond?
And use the reason the she wants a meeting to discuss?
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Answered in 26 minutes by:
9/7/2017
Jessica B
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,859
Experience: Attorney at Donald B. Linsky & Associates, PA
Verified

Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed estate attorney. I hope I may be of assistance with your issue. Did you sign an engagement letter?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
I am speaking in general terms.
Say this is a relationship between an estate attorney and 2 co-executors.

Ok. There is no rule or statute that requires the attorney to respond in writing; however, when hiring an attorney, the client executes an engagement agreement. Within that agreement the client and the attorney may outline the expectations of the relationship. This would include requiring responses to be in writing from the attorney. In all honesty I have never heard of an attorney refusing to answer questions in writing.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
is the attorney within the law to communicate with one co-executor in private without the others knowledge or consent.
And if that co executor finds out and asks what was discussed and the attorney refuses to answer isn't that a problem?

Depends. The key question is who does the attorney represent. Do they represent the estate? Do they represent one executor and not the other? Do they represent both executors. Again this relationship needs to be spelled out in an engagement letter. General rule of thumb is that any communication regarding the administration of the estate must be communicated to both executors.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Estate attorney represents both executors

Technically the attorney is allowed to communicate with one executor without informing the other executor. Discussions regarding the administration of the estate are not protected attorney / client speech between the attorney and one executor. Now if the communications were not regarding the administration of the estate, then that may be protected speech.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
But if the other executor requests to know what they spoke about, does the attorney have an obligation to inform?

Not if the topic being discussed did not concern the administration of the estate.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Ok but if it did?

If it did, then in these situations it is advisable for both executors to have their own attorney. The next step is to possibly have the executor removed from their position. You would petition the court to be the sole executor, stating that there is a belief the attorney and executor are colluding against the estate. You would also state to the judge that it is in the best interest of the estate, if the administration moved forward with only one executor.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Ok and last question does a co executor has the right to say they only want to communicate with the attorney and coexecutor in writing - if that's what they are comfortable with?

In theory yes; however, you may not be allowed to make the same requirement between the attorney and the other executor. If you want all of your communications to be in writing, then the attorney should honor that request.

Jessica B
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,859
Experience: Attorney at Donald B. Linsky & Associates, PA
Verified
Jessica B and 87 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Thank you

No problem. Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Will do
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