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Can I cancel a "will contest" & "trust contest" myself or do I need a lawyer?

San Diego, CA |

I have a lawyer, he filed a will contest and trust contest on my behalf, I'd like to cancel both (I've reached an agreement with my relatives), lawyer is dragging his feet on it and my relatives are getting impatient. Fearing they will rescind on their original agreement, I'd like to do this myself if possible. Is this something I can do? How do I go about it? This is in San Diego, CA.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Your attorney is subject to your instructions. You need to speak with your attorney about withdrawing your contest. Explain to him that you have reached a settlement with your relatives. Ask that he draw up a settlement agreement for filing with the court and a withdrawal of your contests. After everyone signs the settlement file it with the court and ask the court retain jurisdiction so that the court can enforce the terms of the agreement. The court can then dismiss your contests. (all parties should be present at the hearing to inform the judge of their agreement to the settlement) If you attorney will not do as you instruct, it is your right to hire a new attorney who will follow your instructions and substitute out the old attorney.
    I advise against you doing this yourself as the court procedures and the preparation of the settlement and other filings are often too complex for the non attorney.

    Nothing contained in the information on this web site is to be considered as the rendering of legal advice for specific cases and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel. This web site is intended for educational purposes only. Michael R. Weinstein, is licensed to practice only before the courts of the State of California, and is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Central District and the United States Cou rt of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit. No information contained herein is to be considered applicable to legal matters in domestic or foreign jurisdictions outside of the State of California.

  2. Due to the intricacies, it is best to consult a lawyer on the matter.

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am ethically required to state that the answer I have provided you does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered GENERAL legal education and are intended to provide GENERAL information about the question asked. Since the law can change on a day to day basis, information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney after meeting with the attorney and informing them of all facts relevant to your question. Please keep in mind, that the smallest omitted detail has the potential to completely change an answer. Therefore, this answer is provided solely as a GENERAL answer and should be treated as HIGHLY LIKELY to be edited upon a proper consultation with an attorney.

  3. Let your lawyer handle it.

  4. I agree with the answer provided by Attorney Michael Weinstein. I would add, however, that you need to do more than merely "speak with your attorney about withdrawing your contest." You need to direct him, in writing, to do so. Send a letter (certified mail, return receipt requested), telling him your desired outcome and directing him to withdraw the contest without further delay. If he continues to drag his feet and your relatives do back out of their agreement, I would urge you to consult another attorney and ask if you have a potential malpractice claim against your foot-dragging lawyer.

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