How do I discontinue our relationship with an estate lawyer?

Asked over 2 years ago - Bonita Springs, FL

We met briefly one time with a lawyer to discuss options for updating our estate documents. We filled out his standard estate questionnaire (with no binding clauses or signatures), paid his fee for that initial consult, and said we intend to provide him with the actual documents to review. However, we decided our personalities weren’t good matches. We signed no written agreement for his continued services. We want to notify him immediately that we’d like to stop using his services. How do we best tell him of our decision—have we created an inadvertent verbal agreement?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. 12

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . You may disengage with an attorney at any time for any reason, even if you had signed a retainer agreement. A simple call or email telling him that you do not wish to use his services is sufficient in your case.

    This answer should not be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship, and is for informational purposes... more
  2. 9

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . Since you never signed an agreement for fees or services you should be under no obligation to pay additional fees. As the other attorneys have stated, you are free to start or end a relationship with an attorney at any time. You state that you would like to notify him that you'd "like to stop using his service." Other than the initial consultation, you never started to use his services. Most attorneys have a "free" initial consultation (typically limited to 1 hr.). You paid for your consultation and are moving on. If you feel obligated to do so, send a brief letter or make a short call to his office. You should also ask that he not contact you in the future.
    As to your current documents, please seek out a new estate attorney to assist you. It is important that your documents are reviewed and updated as necessary at least every 5 years. Find a new attorney on AVVO or ask a friend for a referral.
    Good luck.

    This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an... more
  3. 11

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    Answered . I agree with Mr. Criscione. You can "fire" an attorney at any time. However, this may not free you from liability for any fees/expenses that have already been incurred by your former attorney. You should definitely contact him immediately to inform him of your decision. I would recommend that you make a phone call then follow that up with an email or letter.

    marcos@martinezanda.com Office tel: (561)245-4723 Website: www.martinezanda.com. The answer provided does not... more
  4. 5

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    Answered . I agree with the prior responses. You should not feel bad about this. It happens ALL the time. Your lawyer will not be surprised if you simply never call back. It is the nature of estate planning work. You can, if you wish, simply call and let him know that you have decided to "put things on hold," for now. That is probably all that you would need to do. If the lawyer has paperwork in his file that you provided and would like to get back, you could follow up with a letter requesting it, or make a trip to the office to collect it.

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and... more
  5. 3

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . It appears that you did not make an inadvertent agreement and you have no obligation to contact him further.

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of... more

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Estate planning

Estate planning refers to the process in which you decide and document what happens to your assets after you die, by making things like wills or trusts.

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