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QLD Will and Deceased Estate - Conflict of Interest with Sister and Solicitor?

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by Chas, 16 September 2015.

  1. Chas

    Chas Member

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    I have concerns that there is a conflict of interest arising with the handling of my mother's deceased estate.

    Briefly, the situation is thus:
    My sister and my Mother's solicitor were the Enduring Power Of Attorneys for my Mother. They acted severally.
    During this time the solicitor also acted as my sisters solicitor when aspects of the EPOA were contested.
    My mother has now passed away and my sister wishes to use the same solicitor to do the probate of the will, whilst still engaging the same solicitor to fight me in disputing the will.

    This same solicitor was also the witness to the will being signed.

    My sister and I are both executors of the will.

    I feel that this scenario will not lead to the best outcome for myself. I also wonder if this interweaving of affairs actually above board?
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Chas,

    The conflict of interest rules are set out in the Australian Solicitors' Conduct Rules. A conflict generally arises in situations where:
    • a solicitor acts for both parties in a matter where the parties interests are different (ie. buyer and seller of house)
    • a solicitor acts against a former client having previously acted for that party in a related matter; or
    • a solicitor's own interest is involved such as where they acts in a transaction in which they have an interest
    In such situations, it is deemed that the solicitor could not act in the best interests of their client as the solicitor may be able to obtain information which could promote one party’s case to the detriment of the other.

    If you are concerned about it, I would raise it with the solicitor and give him or her the opportunity to explain why there is no conflict of interest in your case to put your mind at ease. If you are not satisfied with their response perhaps you could contact the law society.
     
    Chas likes this.
  3. Chas

    Chas Member

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    Thanks Sophea, you clarified what I felt to be the case. I'll do as you suggest.
     

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