Probate and Trust Attorney Communication limits and responsibilities

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Probate and Trust Attorney Communication limits and responsibilities

I am a trustee to an estate. What information is our lawyer allowed to communicate about the trust to the beneficiaries without our consent? I am also the probate representative for the assets not covered by the trust. Again, what information about the probate process is our lawyer allowed to communicate without my consent to the beneficiaries?

Asked on June 25, 2018 under Estate Planning, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The short answer is "nothing." If the lawyer is the lawyer of the trust, and you are the trustee, or the lawyer of the estate, and you the estate's personal representative, you are the client. (Technically, the trust or estate is the client, but as the trustee and/or personal representative, you speak for the trust or estate.) The lawyer cannot communicate information to other parties without the client's consent. IF the lawyer believes that your instructions (e.g. about what to communicate or share) are in some way illegal or unethical, the lawyer could withdraw from representing you--but still cannot communicate without your consent (or without a court order requiring that certain information be provided).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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