What does this mean? The attorney representing the executor cannot represent the beneficiaries.

Asked over 1 year ago - Chesterfield, VA

the executor is a beneficiary, does this mean other beneficiaries? not all

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Mark Westerfield

    Contributor Level 13

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . An Executor can hire an attorney to work with him or her on the estate administration, but the duty of the lawyer is to faithfully implement the terms of the will and to comply with the laws and regulations applicable to an estate. An Executor has the exact same obligations.

    Sometimes, however, Executors violate their oath and act in their own interests. Sometimes, beneficiaries fight among themselves because they disagree on the terms of the will or belief that the will should not be applied as written. Disagreements about the administration of estates are quite common. In those cases, the lawyer should not take the side of the beneficiary or the Executor. Instead, it is the lawyer's duty to enforce the terms of the will appropriately. If the Executor is also a beneficiary and there is a disagreement with another beneficiary, each would need to have their own lawyer and the Estate lawyer could not represent either of the beneficaries.

  2. Michael S. Haber

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . Technically, the attorney engaged by the executor represents the estate, not the beneficiaries.
    The estate acts through the executor. Thus, in a case in which the executor is also a beneficiary, the executor is wearing two hats -- that of executor and that of beneficiary. The estate attorney, although somewhat reliant on the instructions of the executor, will not technically represent the interests of the executor when he is wearing his beneficiary hat.

    But that's all getting rather technical. I think what you actually want to know is whether the attorney for the estate must answer to the beneficiaries. And the answer to that question is no.

    Good luck to you.

    Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are... more
  3. Anne Marie Healy

    Contributor Level 14

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Although I practice law in California, what they would mean is that although the executor is also a beneficiary, the lawyer can only represent the executor. The lawyer cannot represent the beneficiaries. You should consult with an attorney in your area because there may be a conflict of interest.

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