Q: Can an attorney legally conceal the fact that his client has died?
Please tell me there could be consequences for an attorney and beneficiaries who knowingly conspired to conceal the fact from the executor and estate attorneys that one of a will’s beneficiaries has predeceased the decedent. The deception preceded the beginning of probate, continued for several months, and was only revealed when “final” paperwork required notarized signatures from all beneficiaries. At the minimum, I hope they would be liable for the excess legal fees and costs to the estate generated by numerous documents and fees that they knew to be erroneous, and perhaps the attorney would face Bar sanctions.
A: I do not believe that I totally understand what occurred. It sounds like their are some facts that have been left out of your question. Generally speaking a beneficiary does have to survive the decedent for a required period of time, and I am confused how an attorney would get a client during probate if the beneficiary predeceased the decedent. You may want to contact an experienced probate attorney to give him or her the exact details.
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