Birmingham, AL asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland

Q: Can a lawyer be a beneficiary in a will and insurance policy, and leave their children out of it?

My father is mentally unstable. He would have doctors comit him to have his attorney have him released, for a large fee. My father died because the doctors and family was afraid to authorize treatment for a infection. His attorney is is sole benefactor in his life insurance and will. Isn't this illegal?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: It's not inherently illegal for a lawyer to be named as a beneficiary in a client's will or life insurance policy, but this situation can raise questions of undue influence or conflict of interest. If your father's mental capacity was in doubt, there could be grounds to challenge the validity of the will or the designation of the lawyer as the sole beneficiary.

The key issue in such cases often revolves around whether the individual making the will (your father, in this case) had the mental capacity to understand the decisions they were making and if there was any undue influence or coercion involved. If there's a suspicion that the lawyer unduly influenced your father or if your father was not mentally competent when making these decisions, legal action might be warranted.

Given the complexity of this situation and the serious concerns you've raised, it would be wise to consult with an attorney who has experience in probate or estate law. They can help you understand your rights and the potential for challenging the will or the beneficiary designations.

Remember, each case is unique and heavily dependent on the specifics of the situation, so professional legal advice is crucial in navigating this process effectively.

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