General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

Would there be an ethical problem having my brother as my attorney for preparing my will, in view of the fact that he would be a beneficiary?

Asked by LostInParadise (28571points) May 6th, 2009

He would in fact be a major beneficiary. Before asking him I wanted to know if this would pose a problem for him.

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11 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

I am not a lawyer, so I can’t say if there are legal issues surrounding it, but he might feel uncomfortable with it personally. The only way to find out about that is to ask him, “Brother, I need to update/create my will. Would you feel comfortable doing this or can you recommend someone who is good at it if you do not?”

TaoSan's avatar


conflict of interest…

jbfletcherfan's avatar

No, don’t do it. Family members can’t notarize for each other, either. Go to another member in his firm if you want to, but don’t get your brother involved in this.

basp's avatar

If you have to ask if it is an ethical conflict of interest…. Then it probably is.
I am not a lawyer either but I would think it would be best to have an unrelated person perform those duties.

knitfroggy's avatar

Sounds like a conflict of interest to me. If he did make your will (Which I doubt he would) it might be contested by any of your other beneficiaries.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

there could be an ethical issue but there doesn’t have to be

wundayatta's avatar

If you trust him, I don’t see a problem. He’ll write it as you tell him. It’s not like he’s going to try and cheat other folks out of their portion of the inheritance. Of course, if you think he might do that, go elsewhere. But then, why give him the most? But if it’s free, and it’s pretty simple, I’d use my brother.

As a side note, my wife, who is a trusts’ attorney, had a friend of hers do our wills. But that was mostly because wills are not her thing.

skfinkel's avatar

Since wills are so often an issue that uses much of the money intended for the beneficiaries, why even take a chance—spend the money with another lawyer now to get a will that is what you want, and then your brother (if he outlives you) will have the money to spend and not a lawsuit to fight.

bea2345's avatar

The fact that you asked is telling. Go to another lawyer.

cak's avatar

Two attorneys in my family, I’ll use neither of them. Both are very well respected, one practices nationwide and is pretty well know in his chosen field. One offered to do our paperwork, but when seeing how complicated things were getting, he referred us to a good friend of the family. It involved him, too much and one front being he was going to be the beneficiary.

From what I understand – it was some time, ago – there could be an ethical issue, but not likely.

DrBill's avatar

In Illinois it would be illegal. Anyone mentioned in the will can have no part in preparing it (no even allowed to witness it).

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