What Happens to the Records When a Lawyer Dies | Expert Guide
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What happens to the records when a lawyer dies? it may sound odd or strange to you, but there have been some actual cases where the lawyer passes away while having responsibilities of many cases in the court. In such a situation, the lawyer’s family will have to play a vital role for the sake of the public and the court.
After the lawyer’s death, his or her family should be active in performing their post burial responsibilities. Besides the family, the plaintiff should also take preventive steps to clear his query ‘what happens to the records when the lawyer dies.’
Finding a reasonable way to move the case on in such a situation when the lawyer is no more may be challenging. You’ll have to visit court again and again if you are unaware of the proper method for such a condition.
This article will make you learn what you should do if your lawyer passes away. So, stay tuned till the end of the document to learn a proper procedure to settle your case in such hours of tension and emergency. So, let’s move down to explore more about this query.
Role of Family of the Lawyer after His Death
Attorney’s family has some responsibilities in case of his death. If they timely do all the essential measurements, clients may succeed in seeking justice.
- The foremost responsibility of the attorney’s family is to inform the relevant court about the lawyer’s death. When a lawyer’s death is in the court’s notice, the plaintiff may feel secure in further proceedings.
- Another important role that an attorney’s family should play is to keep the records safe. Every lawyer has a special file regarding the cases he is currently handling or has already handled. If his family knows about the records of the active cases, they should provide these records to the court.
- Clients may also seek help from the lawyer’s family after the lawyer’s death. If a client has any copy of his petition in the court, he may receive the original file from the attorney’s home. This will also help the plaintiff to proceed with his case further.
- It’s right that the lawyer’s family will suffer a lot after their near and dear one’s death, but they shall have to stand with the court too to make the legal prosecution smooth and effective. If they help the legal system, there will be no wonder for the plaintiff or the court.
Responsibility of Staff Members after the Death of a Lawyer
In case the lawyer passes away, the staff members of the relevant court will have to play a vital role. If they remain active, the clients can be secured. If the will is secure, the client can proceed with their case by refilling it through any other attorney.
The staff members should proceed properly after the death of any of their court’s lawyers. They should inform the plaintiffs connected with that particular lawyer about the death of their attorney. If timely informed, the plaintiff may have a chance to re-file or proceed with their case appropriately.
Usually, the staff members have the original file of the petition. They should mail the original will to the relevant client. This will prove very beneficial for the relevant client.
Securing the Will Records After the Death of the Lawyer
If you fail to get the help of the staff members of the lawyer’s family, you should have to move on yourself. Here is an effective procedure to secure your will records after the lawyer’s death.
Get Important Data
In the absence of a lawyer, it’s hard to locate your will. You can get information about your will through the following means.
- Contact the relevant court and check whether any other attorney knows about the records.
- The court will have specialized a person to provide the records to the clients, contact that person if possible.
- Contact the administrator of the relevant court.
- Visit or contact the attorney’s office. You may have some important clues regarding your will after contacting the supervisor or owner of the office building.
Hire a New Attorney
Whether you find the previous records or not, you’ll have to hire a new attorney. To do this, move in the following way.
- Hire a new attorney and ask him or her to consult with your relevant court. He’ll file a counsel substitution notice to the court. This will tell you whether your case has any remaining proceedings or not.
- If your will is not in litigation, you’ll have to notify your opponents via your attorney.
- You’ll not have any legal rights if you don’t take the steps mentioned above immediately.
- If you can’t proceed, consult any other attorney or your consultant, if any.
Get Your Case File
As mentioned above, visit the attorney’s office or home to retrieve the file of your will. Without this file, you can’t proceed further.
Check Whether You Have Any Pending Court Dates or Not
- When you successfully hire an attorney, visit the relevant court to check whether your case has any pending date or not.
- If you have any pending dates, move through your lawyer according to the schedule of the date.
Get the Assistance of the Client-Attorney Assistance Program
Suppose you’re unable to understand your previous attorney’s proceedings or think your attorney has been using some illegal ways to move your case. In that case, you can ask the Client Attorney Assistance Program for help. They will give you a track to move appropriately.
When you get the assistance of the Client Attorney Assistance Program, you’ll have to file the grievance file. So, you can get a form to file grievances from the relevant website.
Get the Refundable Money
If you’ve paid some retainer fee or any other fee to your attorney in advance but he, unfortunately, passes away, you can claim the refund of that fee amount. Here is a method to proceed with refunding the fee amount.
- Check whether any administration or executor is working in your state for this purpose.
- If yes, contact them.
- After approaching them, file your case of grievance to their office.
- If you’re eligible, you will surely get your funds back.
- You’ll have to attach an eligibility form to the State Bar of Taxes. This is a crucial thing to get your funds back.
What to Do If You Can’t Succeed
Sometimes, circumstances put you in such a situation that you can’t succeed in locating your file or processing it. In such a situation, you can submit your application in the district courts of your state. They will process your case appropriately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the lawyer keep the original will?
Yes, the concerned lawyer must keep the original copy of the client’s will. However, it’s up to him whether he charges his client or not to hand over the will. Moreover, the plaintiffs should be informed about the location of their will so that they may consult the relevant lawyer even after months or years.
How long do lawyers keep records for?
If any client does not take his will fuel back, the lawyer must keep it safe for at least seven years.
Why do lawyers keep original copies of wills?
Lawyers keep the original copies of the will for different purposes. However, these are the two major reasons to keep the original copies of the will.
- As lawyers are professionals, clients feel safe to keep their will in their custody. This may be the reason behind keeping the original copies of the will.
- Lawyers hope their clients’ families return, even after years, and proceed with the case again. This is another reason behind keeping the original copies of the will.
What voids a will?
As per rule, the following acts can leave the will worthless.
- Burning of the will
- Tearing of the will
- Shredding of the will
- Any other way of destroying the will
All these conditions will void the will—no matter who does this.
Can I request my file from my attorney?
Yes, being the plaintiff, it’s your right to get the file from your lawyer. However, your lawyer may charge some fee to hand over the file to you.
Sometimes, the proceedings of the will may disturb due to certain reasons. The death of your attorney is one of those reasons that may affect the processing of your case. In such a situation, you’ll have to make some essential arrangements that will help you to proceed with your case.
However, you’ll have to learn about some basic things that may prove beneficial to keep a record of your will even after the death of your lawyer. For this, you’ll have to dig into the law industry well.
Moreover, we have proposed a precise guide for you to facilitate you. You can recover your will records by following the procedure mentioned above. Hopefully, this information will be helpful for you to proceed with your case.
I’m a driven and accomplished law graduate and post-graduate, passionate about sharing my legal expertise via my blog. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of London (UK) and a Master’s in Law from the University of Derby (UK). Both gave me the foundational knowledge and skills to excel in my chosen career path.
Throughout my academic journey, I have gained extensive knowledge in various fields of Law, including Corporate and Business Law in the USA, Criminal Law, International Law, US Copyright law, and most importantly, American Constitutional law.