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If you have a trust/will a decide to change it with a new attorney, should the new attorney let the new attorney know that you

Wayne, MI |
Filed under: Wills Trusts Living trust

are amending the original will?????? Is it legal, unethical for an attorney not to tell the first attorney?

It should read ....should the new attorney let the first attorney know that you are amending the original will?????? Is it legal, unethical for an attorney not to tell the first attorney?

Attorney Answers 3


As I read your question, it seems to me that you think the attorney is somehow in charge of the estate and that he is responsible to produce the most recent will or trust. Therefore, if he is not updated, he could err in this duty. This is totally wrong.

Your new attorney has no duty to inform the old attorney of anything. The attorney who drafted your documents is not in charge of anything -- he just drafted documents. Because he never has any way of knowing that you didn't write new documents the following day, he is not expected to hold the most recent will or trust.

If you think it would clear up confusion, you can inform the prior attorney that the old will is no longer useful and have him destroy it.

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It is not an ethical violation or illegal for the new attorney to not inform the first attorney of any changes to the estate plan.

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I agree with my colleagues. The representation of the first attorney essentially ENDS, once your estate planning documents are established. There is nothing that prevents you from using another attorney to update and amend your documents, or to create an entirely new estate plan. There is no duty to inform the initial attorney. Of course, if your initial attorney has retained all of your original documents, you will want to retrieve them.

James Frederick

*** 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.

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