An estate attorney drafted my living trust 3 years ago. I would prefer not to do business with this firm going forward. Is it ok for another law firm to keep the file copy of my trust even though they did not draft it? Is there any reason I need to keep the file copy with the firm that actually drafted my living trust?
There is no legal reason for your prior law firm (or any law firm) to have a copy of your trust agreement, but you can give a copy to whatever firm you wish. I hope this helps.
Dave Rich is an attorney licensed in Colorado. Answering your questions does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts in your case, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.
I agree with Mr. Rich. If you wish to move your business to another firm, you can have the file transferred to the firm of your choosing.
Yes-you can have a copy of your file transferred to another law firm.
If I was the firm that drafted your trust-I would always keep a copy of my
file notes and a copy of any documents I drafted-but would mark the file-DO NOT CONTACT.
The reason-I am always responsible for the documents first drafted.
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.
You have no obligation to stay with any one attorney, regardless of the work they’ve done for you. Your old attorney should comply with any requests to get all your files and papers to you when you decide to get new representation. There is no reason why your old attorney should retain your files and documents if you don’t want them to.
Attorneys routinely keep file copies (often just electronic now) of documents they worked on in the past. That does not mean you have any obligation to continue to work with them. You always have the right to work with any attorney you want to hire. If you do amend your living trust, you might wish to let the old firm know you have done so and that they should make a note for their file in case anyone ever tries to get a copy of the old version from them.
You should always be the keeper of your original estate planning documents. If you restate your entire trust, you can shred prior copies. There is no requirement that you retain old versions.
As the client, you own your file; the attorney works for you and serves at your pleasure. You ask whether it is okay for another law firm (a firm other than the firm who drafted your trust) to keep the file copy or your trust. The answer is yes. You can retain any firm you like to serve you. You should work with the firm that you believe is best suited to help you meet your estate planning objectives.
I agree with all these answers. And I believe the best attorneys make it easy for their clients to change course if they desire it. There should be a diagram of the plan in the portfolio that a reputable estate planner can read and analyze easily. You should also be able to provide a digital copy (in this day and age) and/or ask the new attorney to scan them for you into digital form if the previous plan is prior to digitization.
Make sure your new attorney is a true estate planner, rather than a probate lawyer. Planners' goals are to keep your family out of court. Probate lawyers are the (generally skilled) people who take your estate through probate failing adequate planning. Important difference.
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