Q&As

Where a solicitor has acted for a client prior to their death, can the solicitor surrender the client's files to their executor, particularly with regards to matters which do not affect the estate?

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Published on LexisPSL on 03/08/2021

The following Wills & Probate Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a solicitor has acted for a client prior to their death, can the solicitor surrender the client's files to their executor, particularly with regards to matters which do not affect the estate?

Where a solicitor has acted for a client prior to their death, can the solicitor surrender the client's files to their executor, particularly with regards to matters which do not affect the estate?

We refer you to the following Q&A, which deals with a very similar question: Where a firm is requested by an executor to hand over files relating to their testator, do they have to comply where those files contain advice and what would ordinarily be privileged information?

The key points relevant to your question are as follows:

  1. the SRA standards and regulations provide at paragraph 6.3 that 'You keep the affairs of current and former clients confidential unless disclosure is required or permitted by law or the client consents'

  2. when the client dies, the right to confidentiality passes to their personal representatives (see Disputed wills: Guidance for practitioners)

  3. an executor's authority operates from the date of the testator's death whereas

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