Does Attorney Client Privilege Survive Death?

Many law firms encounter numerous inquiries about attorney-client privilege.

Does attorney-client privilege survive death?

When clients are figuring out their plans and drafting legal documents, they want to know about the confidentiality of their discussions with the attorneys.

They are concerned about whether the details of the conversations will be disclosed to their family members.

Similarly, family members may inquire about discussions with clients and the factors influencing specific decisions regarding the client’s estate.

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Does Attorney-Client Privilege Survive Death. Photo Source (Freepik)

Understanding Attorney-Client Privilege

Attorney-client privilege is like a secret rule.

It means that when you talk to a lawyer, they can’t tell anyone else about what you say.

This rule also applies to the lawyer’s helpers, like assistants or paralegals.

You and your lawyer need to be honest and trust each other.

When you know your talks are private, you’re more likely to share important details, and that helps the lawyer give you the best advice.

Attorney-Client Privilege After Death

Even if someone who talked to a lawyer passes away, what they talked about stays private.

The lawyer can’t tell anyone, not even the family, what was said.

For instance, if someone created a will with a lawyer and later passed away, the lawyer cannot disclose the contents of the will or the reasons behind specific decisions.

It’s a rule to keep these conversations secret even after the person is no longer here.

Exceptions to Attorney-Client Privilege

There are a few times when what you talk about with a lawyer isn’t kept private after you’re no longer around.

First, if you say it’s okay, the lawyer can tell your family or loved ones about it.

For example, if you make a special plan and want the lawyer to explain it to someone later, you can give permission.

Another time is if you leave a letter with your important papers, where you share personal stories and what you want to happen.

If there’s someone else in the room while you’re talking to the lawyer, the information might not be a secret anymore.

It’s common to bring a family member, but you should ask the lawyer first.

Lastly, if someone is questioning your will because of how you were thinking when you signed it, the lawyer can talk about whether you were able to make decisions at that time.

They won’t share exactly what you said, but they can talk about your ability to make decisions.

Conclusion

When you talk to a lawyer, what you say is a secret.

This helps you trust each other and be honest.

The lawyer cannot disclose what was said to anyone, even after someone passes away.

There are a few exceptions, like if you give permission or leave a letter.

But the main rule is to keep these talks private and protect your trust in the lawyer.

Further Reading!

How to Become a Family Lawyer: A Comprehensive Guide

Can a Guardianship Override a Power of Attorney?