Westland, MI asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Michigan

Q: Will my brother and I be responsible for payments to estate lawyer who only works for older sibling now?

Father passed away and us 3 siblings had an estate lawyer and were dealing with things. Older sibling got nasty and greedy and was able to take our original estate lawyer and come at us. We now have our own lawyer to represent our interests, but we are worried that the older sibling is abusing time and communication with the lawyer, as we understand it, after the estate is settled, we will have to still pay for that lawyer even though hes not currently representing us. We have had our own lawyer since June.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Trent Harris
Trent Harris
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Jackson, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: First, you have your own lawyer - why not ask him or her this question?

Second, your personal liability to the attorney for attorney fees is a matter of contract. It depends on whether you and the brother signed a retainer agreement with the attorney agreeing to pay the attorney's fees. If not, then the responsibility for fees is only with the person who signed the retainer agreement, or with the estate. If the attorney represents a personal representative on behalf of the estate, ordinarily the personal representative's attorney fees are paid by the estate or trust. That is the general rule, assuming the personal representative's actions benefit the estate. But there are exceptions. If the fiduciary's actions are not in the best interest of the estate or trust and its beneficiaries, a court may order the personal representative to bear his or her own costs.

Your best bet in this situation is to discuss this situation with your own attorney. No one can properly advise you of your rights or the right course of action through a public discussion board website like this. If you are not happy with the advice you are getting from that attorney and that is the reason you are posting here with your questions, get a consult with another experienced probate attorney in your area instead.

Brent T. Geers and Kenneth V Zichi agree with this answer

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