Two Shady Probate Attorney Ploys (2023)


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The attorney and court involved probate process can be difficult. And heirs are sometimes misled by the attorney who wrote the will.

Estate attorneys know that the real money in writing wills is not in the writing in the will, but in the probate of the will after the testator dies. Legal fees for probate typically far exceed the legal fees for the creation of the last will and testament.

Some lawyer offer "as a courtesy" to their clients, to keep the client's original will. Lawyers know thta the original will must be produced upon the death of the testator. But by keeping the will, the attorney knows that the executor and heirs must "come through the attorney" to get access to any inheritance after the testator dies.

Other lawyers, when drafting wills, include a provision that the attorney is appointed as the attorney for the executor or the estate. While the provision is nonbinding. the provision misleads executors and heirs into thinking that the heirs are "stuck" using the legal services of the attorney who wrote the will, and thus stuck with whatever arrangements the attorney makes up.

Probate can be hard enough. Those in charge of completing it should not have to feel misled that they are forced to use the legal services of a particular attorney.

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This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with Rabalais Estate Planning, LLC, through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship.

Paul Rabalais
Estate Planning Attorney


Hey estate planning attorney paul rabale here and in this video we're going to talk about a couple of things that some estate lawyers do when they write wills a little bit misleading borderline, inappropriate that helps those lawyers assure that they're going to be handling that probate legal work in the future.

Okay, so um most people aware that in many cases, that attorney involved and court involved probate proceeding when somebody dies it's hard enough, but sometimes heirs are misled by the attorney who wrote the will.

Let me give you a couple examples, so I will start by saying kind of lawyers.

Like you know, estate planning lawyers.

They know that the real you know money.

In writing.

Wills is not necessarily in the writing of the will, but the real money is in the probate of the will when what's called the testator, the person who wrote the will dies.

Legal fees for probate typically far exceed the fees for riding the will so some lawyers when they write wills for their clients.

They do a couple of things to ensure that that attorney, who writes the will, gets the probate business and the fees when that testator dies all right.

Let me give you one of those examples.

One is quite frankly when the lawyer keeps the original will, so the way it works jim is in the lawyer's office.

Jim is signing his will and says hey, mr and mrs lawyer.

What do I do with my will and the deal is when jim dies in the future? That original will that jim is signing there.

That day has to be produced if it, if it's not produced or it can't be produced or it it can't be located when jim dies.

It creates this presumption that jim destroyed the will with the intent of revoking it.

So the lawyer typically says: well I'll, tell you what jim as a courtesy to our clients, we will store your original will I'll keep the original so that when you die, your executor can just contact us and we'll have it so really what their lawyer is saying when jim says.

Mr ms lawyer, what do I do with my will? Really? The the lawyer is responding, tell you what jim, when you die the first ex first call that your executor is going to have to make is to me because nothing can be done without the original will and when they call me to get the original.

Will I'm going to make sure that I secure the lucrative probate work because all the years gotta come through me to get the original? So we see a lot of lawyers, not a lot.

We see some lawyers keeping all of their clients wills to me.

It just doesn't make sense.

I'm I'm a 55 year old estate, planning lawyer, let's say next week.

I prepare a will for a gentleman who's 60 years old and I keep the will and let's say that gentleman dies when he's.

What's, let's call it 92 32 years from now I'll be 87., I'm not going to be working.

I don't know, what's going to happen to my business, it may dissolve when I retire.

Maybe somebody takes it over and then somebody takes it over from them, but 32 years from now, when jim dies, who in the heck is the family going to contact to try to get that original will which they need to get, they may not be able to find it, or, if 20 years, from now or or 10 years from now, I retire with this safe full of thousands of wills, and I've got to go, find all these people to give them their will back.

You know how am I going to find jim he's probably moved two or three times since we had his address when he originally signed his will.

So you know it just doesn't make sense to me that lawyers should keep wills, because sometimes people sign wells and then they don't need to be produced again for decades.

Sometimes many decades later, keep your will.

Let the appropriate people know of its existence, aaron and its whereabouts, and then allow your executor or your heirs to select the provider of those estate administration, legal services when you die without having to feel pressured into using the legal services of that lawyer, who is holding the will hostage all right.

So that's one thing: lawyers do the other is also kind of sneaky a little bit shady in my mind, it's when the lawyer appoints himself in the will, as the attorney for the executor.

So jim is talking to the lawyer about um.

Getting his will done and lawyer says jim, you know in your will.

You need to name an executor I'll prepare all of that for you who do you want your executor to be, and jim says you know what I want my son billy bob to be my executor.

Billy bob is responsible.

He knows my business he'd, be the executor lawyer says great I'll write up your will so that your son, billy bob, is the executor, so lawyer writes the will and in the will it says I appoint billy bob as as my executor, and then this the lawyer sneaks in a provision to the will which says um and let's call lawyer hot, shot, probate lawyer, hotshot pro boy probate, lawyer, sneaks, in a provision to the wheel.

That says I not only name billy bob, as my executor, but I designate hotshot probate lawyer to be the attorney for my executor.


I know that, oh I guess it was maybe 40 or 50 years ago, our in my state louisiana.

Our louisiana supreme court said that that provision of a person in a will designating a lawyer as the attorney for the executor is non-binding, but neither jim nor billy bob.

You know read that court case from 40 or 50 years ago.

So when jim dies and billy bob reads the will and sees that jim named hot shot.

Probate lawyer, as the lawyer for the executor, billy bob, doesn't know any better.

He feels like he's, got to use hot shot, probate lawyer as the lawyer to settle the estate, and so, while I I know it's not binding, you know the the billy bob's of the world.

They feel obligated.

So really what the what the lawyer is saying when he inserts that provision in the will that says, I designate hotshot probate lawyer as the attorney for my executor he's saying.

I know that when the heirs read it they're not going to know that that provision is non-binding, so so they're going to feel obligated to use my probate legal services and then I can perhaps charge them excessive probate, legal fees because they think they're locked in to me, and so again those are just a couple of things that lawyers do that borderline inappropriate lawyers know the business.

They know the money is not in the writing of the will, but in the probating of the will.

So when they write the will they try to do some things that more secure that more lucrative uh probate or succession, as we call it in louisiana legal work, so probate is hard can be hard.

It's not a disaster in every circumstance, but those in charge of completing the probate executors heirs should be able to use the legal services of the attorney that they feel is most qualified to settle the estate lawyers, keeping original wills and and appointing or even recommending themselves as the attorney for the estate or the attorney for the executor, they're misleading the executor and the heirs into thinking that those executors and those heirs are stuck with one attorney and one attorney.

Only now I will say as a side note um, if you want to you, know many people in america choose to.

Instead of writing wills, keeping everything in your name requiring that court and attorney-involved probate proceeding when you die, many people establish their I'll call.

It revocable living trust so that they create their trust, which really replaces the will.

They transfer title of assets that they own into their trust, while they are while they are alive.

So when they pass away, the successor trustee of their trust, can step in and immediately disperse trust assets to the heirs or in trust, lingo.

The beneficiaries of the trust and all of that trust settlement can be done outside of the attorney and court involved probate process, because things in the trust just don't have to go through the same process that assets in your name have to go through when you pass away so know that that isn't an alternative.

Okay, hope that helps make sure you smash the like button.

If you haven't already subscribed, hit the subscribe button and the notification bell that way, you won't miss any of my future view.

Videos and by doing me, a favor and obliterating the the gray like button making it blue you'll tell video you'll you'll be telling youtube: hey, show paul's videos to more people, which is all we're trying to do here.

Okay, I'm paul rambley estate planning attorney y'all have a good day.


Who is entitled to a copy of a will NZ? ›

Get a copy of a will from the High Court

The High Court only receives a copy of a will when an application of probate is filed. A will becomes a public record when an application for probate is filed with the High Court, which means anyone may look at a will or ask for a copy.

Who is entitled to see a copy of a will in Ontario? ›

The executor must also provide beneficiaries with a copy of the will if they request it. So, in short, beneficiaries do not have a blanket right to see or receive a copy of the will, but they can request one from the executor.

What is a copy fair of a will? ›

You will need two witnesses that can identify the signature. You will have to have to have a copy fair which is a typed transcript of the will with what you interpret as the authors intentions.

How long can you keep a deceased person's bank account open? ›

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. continues to insure accounts for six months after an account holder dies, allowing the surviving account holder to redistribute funds to other accounts to keep them insured. Once the period elapses, FDIC coverage stops.

What if the executor is not communicating with the beneficiaries? ›

If an executor did not properly notify a beneficiary or heir about a decedent's will, the beneficiary may have a right to bring a will contest to revoke admission of the will to probate. A will contest lawyer can assist beneficiaries with determining whether sufficient grounds exist for contesting the will.

What happens if a person named in a will is deceased? ›

Under California Probate Code §21110, if a named beneficiary dies before the Will-maker, the heirs (i.e. kindred/related by consanguinity) of the deceased beneficiary may, based on several requirements, inherit the gift in his/or her place.

How do you pass assets to heirs before death? ›

The most common way to give an inheritance before death is to write a will and designate specific beneficiaries. This may be done in one of two ways - either by leaving the property or money directly to the person who you want to get it or by placing it in trust so that it goes directly to them after your death.

How do you identify beneficiaries? ›

Most beneficiary designations will require you to provide a person's full legal name and their relationship to you (spouse, child, mother, etc.). Some beneficiary designations also include information like mailing address, email, phone number, date of birth and Social Security number.

How long does it take to get inheritance money NZ? ›

As a general rule, most estates should be able to be finalised and distributed within six months after the grant of administration. However, this is very much dependent on the type of assets in the estate, any legal complexities, the terms of the will, and whether anyone challenges the will.

Can an executor of a will be a beneficiary NZ? ›

A default duty under the Act includes the duty to not self-benefit. This duty can be modified so that your executor/trustee of your Will can also be a beneficiary under the Will. Therefore, you have the ability to make your partner your executor, as well as a beneficiary to receive your estate under your Will.

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