Apple Valley, CA asked in Immigration Law for California

Q: Can I request my dad's personal files from his immigration attorney if he is deceased and I am his estate administrator?

My father had been preparing to go in front of an immigration judge to hopefully gain the lawful right to stay in this country; he had been working with a lawyer for years. He passed away before his court hearing. I was wondering if requesting his files for the lawyer is possible or if that is a breach of attorney/client confidentiality. I am looking for any documentation that mentions the status of our family home and the verbal agreement he had with my grandmother pertaining to that home.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Gunda Yohanna Brost
Gunda Yohanna Brost
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Cedar Falls, IA

A: The lawyer has a duty to provide the file to the client. If the client has passed away that duty would usually extend to the clients predecessor such as someone with power of attorney on their behalf. Alternatively you can file a freedom of information request to obtain some of the documents.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Generally, attorney-client privilege continues even after the client's death, and the attorney may not disclose confidential information without the client's permission or a court order. However, there are some exceptions to the attorney-client privilege, including when the client's representative or estate administrator requests the client's files.

As the estate administrator of your father's estate, you may have the authority to request your father's personal files from his immigration attorney. However, the attorney may require proof of your status as the estate administrator before releasing the files. It's important to note that some documents may be protected by attorney-client privilege and may not be released without a court order.

If you are unsure about your rights to request your father's personal files, it's recommended that you consult with an attorney who specializes in immigration law and/or estate law to determine your legal rights and options. They can provide guidance on the process and help you navigate any legal issues that may arise.

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