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Do I have the right to request a copy of the will from attorney that is handling a wrongful death case for my mother.

Coeur D Alene, ID |

I am a long ways away from LA, California. There is a Law Firm who is handling a case that was for my mother, wrongful death, Is she obligated to tell me, if my mother changed her will in the last two weeks. After thinking this over, i realized she could talk to me on the phone, but is she obliagted to tell me if mother changed her will. Do I need to ask for it in writing. If the will was changed, it had to be under undo influence. How do I handle this. Is there a lawyer in LA that can do this for me? When I spoke to her on the phone, she said mom's wrongful death suit is now your kids lawsuit, but if the will was changed, she did not say. I reason to bellieve it has????? Do I need it in writing to see the date? Or just ask her flat out.

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

State laws offer differ on many points. To get a correct answer to your question, you should contact a California attorney. I am puzzled by the fact that the attorney says this is the "kids' lawsuit" but has not answered your questions. I would suggest clarifying with this attorney precisely who the "clients" are that he or she is representing.

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Asker

Posted

Mom passed away Oct. 31. But I don't know if my mother changed her will. If she did, and was on so much Morpine at the time, I didn't ask the attorney, she called me at home on Thursday night, but did not offer to say or not If I was only left a $1.00

Posted

I agree with Mr. Bendell's words of wisdom. I echo his concern that the comment was "this is your kids' lawsuit". Who is the client, you should ask.

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Asker

Posted

Mother passed away on October 31, but had about a week to change her will even though on Mega doses of Morphine. So the attorney told me its now our lawsuit not moms

Posted

Your mother's pending lawsuit became her estate's lawsuit when she passed. As one of her children, you would seem to have standing to review both your mother's wills (your other post refers to two of them) and the progress of the lawsuit.

The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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Posted

Your facts are unclear. If mom had a PI case going and then died as a result of the injuries, her estate could sub in as Plaintiff. There are certain damages her estate could seek, which are different from the damages available in a wrongful death claim by her children or spouse.

There are tactical reasons why it might be better to not have the estate make a claim. These are complex issues that need to be properly considered. You need to clarify with the other atty who her firm is representing, the estate or your siblings or both. If there is a probate case opened you should be able to get a copy of the will.

The probate case may have nothing to do with the wrongful death case, depending upon other assets/debts etc your mother may have had.

If mom had lots of creditors, you dont want the estate to recover money in the death case, as it will go to creditors rather than the children.

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5 comments

Asker

Posted

The original case is for Mesothelioma law suit. Handling is though a firm in LA, CA. They are calling it a wrongful death case which I was told if anything comes of it that it would go to the children.

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Posted

Has the firm said it will represent you too? You say this was your mother. As her child, you would have standing in a wrongful death case.

Asker

Posted

The attorney has only said to me: " its you kids now". What would you charge me, if I faxed you my copy of the will, and you get a copy of the will Simmons Law Firm has. I would and need to know because of time lines if my mother changed her will while on Mega doses of Morphine, and her main caregiver My sister......... I don't know if the will was changed

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Posted

Have you signed a retainer agreement? I would prefer not to have to charge you for me having to contact the firm. It is good to have atty that is knowledgeable in cancer cases. You do not have to have the same atty as your sister, or the estate. There could be a conflict in this matter as it appears you and your sister are not working together and you feel she may have unduly influenced your mother. The damages in a wrongful death case are based upon a number of factors. Primarily, was your mother giving you financial support in any way, and next, how close was your relationship? The more time you spent together, spoke to each other corresponded, etc is important evidence of the relationship. It is not uncommon that the damages awarded for each child are not identical. When I represent more than one claimant, I disclose the conflict of interest, and either try to get an agreement amongst them as to how they will share in the ultimate award percentage wise, or they all agree to using a binding arbitration proceeding if they cant agree. It may be worth exploring your hiring your own atty in LA. Let me know if you want me to see if I can find one who handles these types of cases.

Robert Matthew Kyle

Robert Matthew Kyle

Posted

Now that is a good string of objective and competent advice. If I could mark it "best answer" somehow, I would.

Posted

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother, first off. Second, if your mom hired the lawyer, then the lawyer had an attorney client relationship with her. There may be practical and technical problems for the lawyer and his/her ability to act with full authority in that lawsuit if there was a will, or not one. The lawyer can give you a meeting, but may feel hamstrung about giving you information that may otherwises be privileged until an estate is established. To be most sure, I would hire my own lawyer to help you sort through this and then assist in your communications to that lawyer. It does not have to be adversarial. Right now, that lawyer knows the most about your mom's case (presumably). Undue influence (which you allude to) is a big allegation and no one can begin to assess that based on what you have said here. Undue influence could only apply if there was a will change, and you don't even know that for sure. This is cumbersome, but with good advice you can work through it. Hire a good lawyer soon.

The answer provided by counsel in the AVVO forum is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information is opinion only and given free of charge without full understanding of all facts and the law applicable to any question-poster's individual circumstances. The best advice is to take the question from this volunteer forum to a more formal communication with a practitioner in the specialty area indicated by the nature of the claim.

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Asker

Posted

The Law Firm In LA Simmons Law Firm, Megan told me Thursday that once mom passed away, the law suit became our 3 kids claim. I am posting one last comment online to see If I can find a lawyer to help me in this. thank You

Posted

If the lawyer won't tell you I suggest you hire a California attorney to get answers for you.

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