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What to do when your estate attorney moves or passes away

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | Estate Administration |

When you hire an estate attorney, you expect them to be reliable enough to carry out your wishes exactly as they are written in your will. But what happens if they relocate, die, or retire without your knowledge? Your will should still be valid, but there are actions you may wish to take immediately for your peace of mind.

Look for the original documents

Clients often give the original copy of their will to an estate attorney. Since the court often prefers the original copy, failing to provide this could make it difficult for your loved ones to prove the will’s legality in the future.

You have the following options:

Check with the law firm

If you do not have the original documents and are unable to locate your attorney, you may first check with the law firm. In most cases, another attorney will take over and assume responsibility. Meet with the new attorney and decide whether or not you want to stay with them. If you are not comfortable, you do not have to continue the relationship.

Contact the state bar

Things can become more challenging if they do not have the original documents. In that case, you may contact the Pennsylvania Bar Association to request the new contact information of your old attorney.

Ask the landlord for help

In case you have your attorney’s address, you may try to work with their residence’s landlord or supervisor to retrieve your file. As the client and owner of the documents, you are entitled to possess them.

Find a new attorney

After paying off your outstanding debts and receiving a refund for any unearned attorney fees, you are free to begin your search for a new attorney. Working with a new attorney can give you a fresh perspective. This can be a good thing if your situation or your relationship with your beneficiaries has changed.

Feeling abandoned after losing an attorney is normal, but staying level-headed and acting swiftly is in your best interest. The consequences of losing a will can be disastrous. If you have exhausted your options for locating your will or are no longer happy with your current legal representation, you may want to look into hiring a new estate attorney.