The attorney owes an ethical obligation to you, no matter how much the beneficiary owes the lawyer. Accordingly, please return to the lawyer and have him or her oversee the execution of your will and any other estate planning documents (such as a power of attorney and health care proxy). If the attorney refuses to see you, take the document to another attorney, explain the circumstances, and the new attorney should assist you. Note that each attorney is different, so your new attorney may suggest a different kind of estate plan, such as a pour-over will and revocable living trust. Good luck to you.
This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.
Your question is not clear. It sounds like the testator died and there is an issue with settling the estate not "Will". Please clarify. Not sure how a person in the will owing $20,000 makes a difference otherwise.
In addition, what is your relationship to this matter, what is your interest, and what are you looking for? Who is the executor? Its there duty, not the attorney's. Please provide more specifics.
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Provided you are the client who created the will, I agree with Mr. Pankowski. The attorney owes you, his client, a fiduciary duty, regardless of any monies owed by another person. Your question is somewhat unclear regarding the different relationships between the parties. However, if you need an attorney's assistance and a particular attorney refuses to follow up with you, you should hire a new attorney.
I am licensed to practice law in the State of Arizona. My practice focuses primarily on estate planning, probate and business law. The answer above does not create an attorney/client relationship. This answer should be considered as only educational in nature and does it constitute legal advice (ie. the application of the law to a specific set of circumstances). Often a question does not include all important facts which could materially change the answer to the question if all of the facts were known. The information provided above is not a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney. You should consult with a lawyer in your state to discuss the application of the law to your specific set of circumstances. If you would like more information about this topic or further information about this question, please contact me at Moshier & Neal, PLC, 3001 East Camelback Road, Suite 130, Phoenix, Arizona 85016, (602) 633-1004 or www.azcalaw.com