When You Need to Hire a Lawyer for a Relative…

What if a friend or relative is in trouble? They telephone you asking for help to hire a lawyer. What happens if you call a lawyer for them?

Well, this complicates things when you act as a go-between. You may not understand why until you finish reading this.

Let me give you 3 examples to explain. You can answer “Yes” or “No” to test yourself.

Do you think a lawyer should help if you called one saying:

1. I need a power of attorney for my mother. Can you prepare one for me?

2.  My father is in a nursing home. I was told you could transfer his property to me to avoid probate.

3. My sister wants me to prepare a will leaving me all her property.

The Correct Answer

“No” is the answer in all cases. A lawyer should not act on instructions from you on behalf of a friend or relative.

Lawyers must always comply with their professional obligations. This means they must meet with their client, confirm their identity and instructions.

Usually, callers would be screened to determine if there were any potential ethical concerns.

You would be asked questions such as:

• does your relative know that you are calling?
• does your relative have a power of attorney naming you as his attorney?

A lawyer may be able to represent your parent, but not you as well.  You would also be screened for potential existing or future conflicts of interest.

In such matters, it is better for your relative to call a lawyer directly.