Can you bring a friend or a family member to your attorney’s office, for support? That’s what we’re discussing in today’s video from Siedentopf Law.
Can I bring family members or friends with me to the attorney’s office for support, and if not, why not? This is a question that a lot of people have. A lot of times you want to bring family members with you to the attorney’s office.
I’m estate planning and probate attorney Sarah Siedentopf, and if you’ve got questions about why or why not in a specific situation you might be advised not to have family members come in, please give me a call.
But, in general, the problem with bringing someone other than your attorney into the room with you is that it ruins attorney-client privilege. You don’t have to testify about what you say to your attorney. Your attorney doesn’t have to testify about what you say to the attorney. If there is a third person in the room, that person could be called to testify.
But in an estate planning context, the answer is almost always “so what?” We’re not planning a lawsuit. We are not saying secret things that we don’t want other people to testify about. We are hopefully all working together as a family to have a cohesive estate plan. So, in an estate planning context, much of the time it will be perfectly all right to have family members with you.
Now, often, attorneys such as myself, we’ll ask those family members to step out of the room for a moment because I want to make sure that the wishes that you express to me about who your executor should be, who your power of attorney should be, who should be receiving your stuff, come directly from you and are not in any way forced by someone else in the room. So, yes, in most circumstances in estate planning, it is perfectly fine to bring family members. Those family members should expect to be shut out of the meeting for a small period of time and then possibly come back in, depending on what you want.
But if you’ve got more questions about this and want to think about bringing family members, please give me a call. Also, I’d love to have comments. Thank you.