Can an estate lawyer who wants to retire, close his file on a family Trust that is not yet dissolved but would be in the next 5 months?

Asked on September 29, 2014 under Estate Planning, Michigan


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The attorney cannot just close his file and abandon a client.  He should either refer the case to another attorney or allow you to retain another attorney to complete the matter after providing you with a copy of your file.

Also, if this case is in court, he might not be able to withdraw without obtaining the court's permission.  The rules on an attorney withdrawing from a case with the court's permission vary from state to state.  If he is allowed to withdraw from the case, he needs to sign a substitution of attorney so that either you can be named as in pro per (representing yourself)until you retain another attorney who would then file a substitution of attorney taking over the case and becoming attorney of record. 

In any event, he can't just close his file and abandon a client.  If that is what he is doing, you should file a complaint with the State Bar.

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