What is the right of an executor to obtain documents from decedent’s lawyer who the lawyer for the estate?

UPDATED: Jul 25, 2013

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What is the right of an executor to obtain documents from decedent’s lawyer who the lawyer for the estate?

This is in conjunction with a “land exchange” the decease participated in with family not named in will prior to his death. The executor was notified the property that was exchanged has boundary dispute with neighboring land. The lawyer refuse to provide the executor with the decedents papers/files from the transaction.The lawyer in question is a family lawyer. He did all the paperwork for the father and brothers for over forty years, he handled the property exchange and he is the lawyer for the estate where the property is located.

Asked on July 25, 2013 under Estate Planning, New York


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

An executor has great power to obtain what ever papers are necessary in order to properly perform their duties in the probate of the estate of the decedent.  More information is really needed here to determine if the papers are necessary to probate and I believe the real issue is if the attorney involved may be crossing the line representing the estate and the beneficiaries of the estate.  It seems like there could be a conflict.  I would speak with your attorney for the estate and discuss how you wish to proceed.  Good luck.

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