I don't like the way my lawyer wrote some parts of my trust, and I want to hire another lawyer to completely take it over and make changes. I want to get rid of my current lawyer. Can I simply hire a new lawyer? Anything else I need to do?
I agree with my colleagues, but this should not be a question of "terminating" or "getting rid of" the prior lawyer. His/her services essentially ended, when the trust was complete. Now that you are amending the trust, you do not owe anything to the prior lawyer. You can simply visit another lawyer and have the amendment drawn up. Of course, if the prior lawyer is holding original documents, (which is not a good idea, in my opinion), then you will need to get the originals back.
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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.
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Yes, you can simply terminate the services of your current attorney and hire another one. You should look at the terms of your engagement letter with the current attorney to see what your obligations are.
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James Oberholtzer is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the States of Illinois, Oregon and Washington. He has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Portland, Oregon. His law practice focuses on business, estate planning ( Wills and Trusts), probate administration, tax,real estate and tax exempt organizations.
The foregoing statements do 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 the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.
You should refer to the contract between you and your attorney for details about how to end your relationship.
Generally, you should inform your attorney in writing that you're letting them go and request a copy of your file. Your old attorney may be able to hold on to (all or some of) your file until you've paid off any outstanding bill.
Please don't consider this free information to be legal advice. If you want legal advice, you should retain an attorney.
I agree with the other attorneys. You should be comfortable with your attorney. Additionally, your trust should be simple to understand and you should be comfortable with your attorney. I do estate planning for clients around the state and I try to make sure that clients understand all aspects of their documents and that they are comfortable with what they are signing. Additionally, you should understand that sometimes trusts need so many amendments that they need to be "restated". This means that the entire document needs to be redone. You would still have the same trust (the assets remain titled the same way), but the documents are redone. Sometimes when there are significant tax changes or changes in the family OR when the client wants to make significant changes in how to do distributions, it is easier to make a restatement than an amendment. In choosing a new lawyer, I would check around and not always look for the "cheapest" one in the book. Experience is important. Also, lawyers can work with email. Our firm has clients from around the nation in doing litigation and trust administration.