Is it a conflict of interest for my sister, co-executor of my father's estate, to have the same attorney that my father had?

Asked over 2 years ago - Austin, TX

My father passed away 18 months ago. My sister is co-executor of his will. The attorney my father utilized for the past 30+ years is the same attorney that my sister and her family has used for the past 20+ years. Since there is conflict with the manner in which she is administering the estate, the remaining children have consulted this attorney for advice; however, it appears his advice is always in her best interest. We have asked him to compel her to ptovide requested documents and information, however, he has not done so. Could this constitute a conflict of interest? And if so, what do we do about this?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Lawrence Frederick Dietlein Jr.

    Contributor Level 11

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hello and I am sorry for the loss of your father. Your question cannot be answered without reviewing the engagement letter between the lawyer involved in the estate, and his or her clients. This engagement letter will spell out exactly who the lawyer represents, and in what capacity he represents them (as individuals, as executors, as beneficiaries). When representing co-executors, it is best to represent only the co-executors in their capacity as co-executors (and not as beneficiaries); and not represent: the estate, beneficiaries of the estate, or creditors of the estate. If a beneficiary came to my office stating that my client(s) was not doing something that they (as beneficiaries of the estate) thought the executors should do, I would not give legal advice to that beneficiary and suggest they (the non-executor beneficiaries) hire an independent (outside) probate attorney to help them. “Free” advice given to a non-client is always a risky thing to do and often fraught with landmines. Take care and good luck to all of you.

  2. James Brian Thomas

    Contributor Level 14

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your title and your question don't exactly match up. Is it a conflict for your sister to use the same attorney as your father did when he was alive? Not by itself, no. But whether or not the attorney has some conflict hardly addresses your actual concerns. "Conflict of interest" are not magic words that make your sister live up to her legal obligations.

    You've asked another party's attorney for something and he has refused. What exactly did you expect? He works for your sister. Not for you.

    It's time to stop asking for free insight, and hire an attorney that represents your interests. All of the well-thought responses you gain here are meaningless without your own representation.

    This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted to practice law in the State of Texas only, and make... more
  3. L Christopher Arvin

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Why don't you have your own counsel? Shouldn't that be the focus???

  4. Peter Russell Van Leunen

    Contributor Level 9

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Wow... You all need to get your own attorneys, if what you say is true. I would think there is a conflict there. I do know that your interests are being best served, so find independent counsel, FAST!

    This website is intended to provide general information concerning legal issues in the state of Missouri. It is... more
  5. Richard Norwood Evans II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . There would be a conflict if the attorney represented the executor in a claim or defending a claim against a family member he had represented in the past.

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