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

Asked about 2 years ago - 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)

  1. James M. Bendell

    Pro

    Contributor Level 8

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  2. Keith G Langer

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.
  3. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  4. Robert Bruce Kopelson

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  5. Robert Matthew Kyle

    Contributor Level 8

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  6. Andrew Ronald Gillin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    1

    Lawyer agrees

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

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