NSW How wide is the confidentiality of Exector's legal council?

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RAC

Member
18 February 2021
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Could someone tell me if the communications between the legal council and the executor confidential to those parties, or are beneficiaries also entitled to the contents?
While the legal council is on record as suggesting: "all emails be shared in the interests of transparency", none (between council executor or co-owner) have been shared.

By way of background we have an estate with a large number of beneficiaries, all family members. One beneficiary was able to negotiate a share (25%) ownership of the family home. I consider the circumstances questionable, but I nor other beneficiaries wish to challenge the arrangement. We would however like the co-owner, who currently resides in the property to vacate, so the property can be sold, the estate finalised and we can move on with our lives.

The will says nothing about how quickly the property should be sold. Verbal directions were as follows:
- The daughter, who now resides in the family house, was not to be pushed out.
- One beneficiary asked the deceased if allowing the daughter 12 months to find another place to live would be o.k. the deceased replied that would be generous.
- The deceased did not give the executor any instructions on when the daughter should move out (only not to be pushed out).

Beneficiaries consider the anniversary of the deceased's passing should be adequate time to vacate the property. The executor says he will allow 2 years.

Thank you in advance.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
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720
2,894
Sydney
In short and simple - no, beneficiaries do not have an automatic right
to see the correspondence (emails, letters, whatever)
between a solicitor and their client executor.
That material is typically a matter of legal professional privilege.
That the solicitor has suggested transparency (which is a choice for the client)
should give you a certain comfort about the ethics of the solicitor,
but is not an enforceable right.

Is the daughter making any moves to find somewhere else?
Would the other rellos be open to selling to her, off-market?
 

RAC

Member
18 February 2021
3
0
1
In short and simple - no, beneficiaries do not have an automatic right
to see the correspondence (emails, letters, whatever)
between a solicitor and their client executor.
That material is typically a matter of legal professional privilege.
That the solicitor has suggested transparency (which is a choice for the client)
should give you a certain comfort about the ethics of the solicitor,
but is not an enforceable right.

Is the daughter making any moves to find somewhere else?
Would the other rellos be open to selling to her, off-market?
Tim,
Thank you for your reply. I am in Europe, so I do not know for certain what efforts she is making, and why I did not know about the special arrangement. She has had well payed positions in the past, but is currently unemployed. Certainly a difficult situation at this time. I think she has a bit of what we might call "decision paralysis". There are tough decisions to make, so she defers them because she can. Based on estimates that we believe she will receive, she will most likely be able to buy an apartment in Parramatta for cash.

A number of beneficiaries would dearly love to receive funds early for a number of personal reasons. One has a partner with cancer, another family in Lebanon. As an incentive the other nine beneficiaries have offered $600/week rental assistance if required, for up to 12 months. ($600 is about what we estimate would be the benefit if we could pay off our own loans ealier.)

While relatives would be open to selling to her, I do not believe it would be possible for her to buy the property.

The wording of your response shows the are which confuses me. You say, "is a choice for the client" I understood the client was the estate, rather than executor.

Again, I thank you for your reply.
 
Last edited:

Docupedia

Well-Known Member
7 October 2020
139
11
414
The estate does not exist as an entity in itself, cannot contract, and therefore cannot be a client. It is the executor who is the client (in their capacity, on behalf of the estate). This is same basis for how a family trust operates.
 

RAC

Member
18 February 2021
3
0
1
The estate does not exist as an entity in itself, cannot contract, and therefore cannot be a client. It is the executor who is the client (in their capacity, on behalf of the estate). This is same basis for how a family trust operates.
Thank you Docupedia.