Can One Attorney Represent Multiple Heirs or Beneficiaries in a Will Contest?

August 08, 2017  

Whether true or not (likely somewhere in between these two extremes), many individuals believe that hiring and retaining the services of an experienced and knowledgeable Sheffield Village will contest attorney requires the expenditure of large sums of money. To combat this, it is not uncommon for heirs and/or beneficiaries who seek to challenge the admission of a loved one’s will to probate may attempt to pool their resources and retain one attorney to represent them all in the will contest proceeding. This path is certainly economical, but is it advisable?

Why Retaining One Attorney May Not Make the Most Sense for Your Situation

Lawyers in Ohio are not necessarily prohibited from representing multiple clients at the same time, especially when the interests of those clients are closely aligned with one another and all of the clients who will be utilizing the same lawyer agree to do so. However, before determining that this is in your best interest in your family’s situation, you should note that:

  • Such representation can only be sustained so long as the lawyer involved feels that he or she can continue to provide competent and zealous representation to each client. If you and your fellow heirs and/or beneficiaries cannot agree on one point or another (such as how a specific asset should be distributed), or if the lawyer cannot advance the interests of one client without disadvantaging another client, the lawyer is ethically obligated to withdraw from representing all of the clients (leaving everyone to find new attorneys);
  • If the situation described above occurs (and in a probate or will contest proceeding, the chances of such a situation developing are greater), this will significantly prolong the time it will take for the will contest proceeding and probate case in general to be resolved.
  • In the event this situation occurs, neither you nor any of your fellow heirs or beneficiaries will likely be entitled to recover any of the fees you have paid to the attorney who must withdraw. This means you will likely end up spending more money in attorneys’ fees than you would have if you retained your own counsel at the outset of the contest.

Just because something may be permissible, then, does not mean it is in your best interest to do so. Your interests will almost invariably be better served by an attorney who is committed to protecting your rights and seeking what is in your personal best interest.

Speak with Your Sheffield Village Will Contest Attorney Today

The Kryszak & Associates is committed to providing Sheffield Village residents and those located in central Ohio with professional and dedicated legal representation throughout the probate process and in will contests and other similar proceedings. We believe your interests are best served by having our knowledgeable and experienced legal team on your side. Call our Sheffield Village office at 440-934-5330 to schedule your initial consultation with our legal team today.