When court battles that challenge an estate are successful, things get held up and the settlement of the estate comes to a screeching halt. Too often this is sometimes the result of the deceased individual having withheld relevant information from his or her attorney.
The relationship between client and attorney is a confidential one. There is no reason to feel any trepidation about being completely forthcoming with your attorney, and if you do in fact leave out important relevant information a messy situation could be left behind after you pass away.
What types of information are we referring to? Among them would be the fact you have chosen your two children to jointly handle the settlement of your estate by appointing them co-successor trustees or co-executors and they hate one another. Another would be a long-term and somewhat serious extramarital relationship. Someone who is in this type of relationship may make promises either verbally or sometimes even in writing. We recently saw this in the case of the painter Thomas Kinkade.
He was legally married at the time of his death but had been living with his girlfriend for a year and a half before he passed away. She presented two handwritten last will documents that contradict the terms of the formally prepared estate plan that Kinkade had devised along with his wife.
There are even cases when individuals have a child (or children) that most of the family does not know about. This is something that your lawyer would need to know when you are planning your estate. And, of course, this can get to be very sensitive if you are married and the attorney is creating a plan for both of you. Ethics require full disclosure of all details, however messy, between the parties.
There is an optimal course of action regardless of the unique circumstances of your situation. If you would like to discuss things with an expert in an open and honest fashion, take action right now to arrange for a consultation with a seasoned and savvy Oklahoma City estate planning lawyer.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday