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How do I hire a new lawyer to amend my trust?

Roseburg, OR |

I don't like the way my lawyer wrote some parts of my trust, and I want to hire another lawyer to completely take it over and make changes. I want to get rid of my current lawyer. Can I simply hire a new lawyer? Anything else I need to do?

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

I agree with my colleagues, but this should not be a question of "terminating" or "getting rid of" the prior lawyer. His/her services essentially ended, when the trust was complete. Now that you are amending the trust, you do not owe anything to the prior lawyer. You can simply visit another lawyer and have the amendment drawn up. Of course, if the prior lawyer is holding original documents, (which is not a good idea, in my opinion), then you will need to get the originals back.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer 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. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

Christopher L Cauble

Christopher L Cauble

Posted

I think that most lawyers should not hold original documents. My office does provide the service of holding original wills and trusts since our office is situated in a former bank building and we store documents in a vault. Lawyers who hold original documents must comply with special custodial rules.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Posted

Agreed. I see too many cases where the lawyer has documents that are REALLY old and either people do not know where they are, (because the client has died), or the lawyer has died, and no one knows who to contact to get the documents.

Christopher L Cauble

Christopher L Cauble

Posted

Our bar association has good procedures to follow and we maintain a good database and followup system. I agree that lawyers must have a good staff and a good system in place. We put our office stamp on the copy so that people know where the original is.

Posted

Yes, you can simply terminate the services of your current attorney and hire another one. You should look at the terms of your engagement letter with the current attorney to see what your obligations are.

Please be sure and mark the best answer. Thank you! hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER James Oberholtzer is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the States of Illinois, Oregon and Washington. He has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Portland, Oregon. His law practice focuses on business, estate planning ( Wills and Trusts), probate administration, tax,real estate and tax exempt organizations. The foregoing statements do 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. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.

Posted

You should refer to the contract between you and your attorney for details about how to end your relationship.
Generally, you should inform your attorney in writing that you're letting them go and request a copy of your file. Your old attorney may be able to hold on to (all or some of) your file until you've paid off any outstanding bill.

Good luck!

Please don't consider this free information to be legal advice. If you want legal advice, you should retain an attorney.

Posted

Yes-You can simply hire a new attorney to amend your trust.
You should never be forced to use the services of an attorney
that you have lost faith or trust in the relationship or abilities.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

Posted

I agree with the other attorneys. You should be comfortable with your attorney. Additionally, your trust should be simple to understand and you should be comfortable with your attorney. I do estate planning for clients around the state and I try to make sure that clients understand all aspects of their documents and that they are comfortable with what they are signing. Additionally, you should understand that sometimes trusts need so many amendments that they need to be "restated". This means that the entire document needs to be redone. You would still have the same trust (the assets remain titled the same way), but the documents are redone. Sometimes when there are significant tax changes or changes in the family OR when the client wants to make significant changes in how to do distributions, it is easier to make a restatement than an amendment. In choosing a new lawyer, I would check around and not always look for the "cheapest" one in the book. Experience is important. Also, lawyers can work with email. Our firm has clients from around the nation in doing litigation and trust administration.

Diane L Gruber

Diane L Gruber

Posted

Another thing to consider: Way too many people who cannot benefit from Living Trusts have paid good money to have them drafted. Unfortunately, unless you have SIGNIFICANT assets and need tax shelter trusts, a Living Trust is of minimal benefit for you. Moreover, you are spending FAR MORE money during your lifetime to keep the trust up-to-date, than just letting the assets go through a normal probate after the last one of you & your spouse has passed away. Also, probate is simple and relatively short in Oregon, better than dealing with a complicated trust for years on end. See my "legal guides" on this subject on my profile page on this website.

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