Attorney Disqualification and Estate Administration
April 1st, 2015
When an attorney has a conflict of interest in a case the attorney is not allowed to be involved in the case. A bizarre case in Louisiana illustrates how that principle applies to estate administration.
There is apparently no dispute that Kaci Breen shot her husband, Wayne, in the chest twice. Whether that makes Kaci guilty of murder is the subject of an ongoing sheriff's investigation.
Five days after shooting her husband, Kaci filed a petition with the probate court to have an attorney appointed to find her husband's latest will. Attached to the motion was an older will that named Kaci as the executor of the estate.
Of course, it should go without saying that if Kaci is convicted of murder, she cannot have anything to do with her husband's estate.
A few days later another attorney, representing the grown children, filed a motion to have Kaci's attorney removed from the case due to a conflict of interest.
It turns out that her attorney’s firm has a close relationship with the very sheriff's department that is investigating the possible murder. Kaci's attorney submitted a long response in opposition, but did withdraw from the case.
The New Orleans Advocate has more to read on the story in an article titled "Legal battle begins over slain doctor's estate."
Obviously, a lot is going on in this estate case and it is far too early to speculate on how the estate will eventually be divided. The key point right now is that an attorney can be removed from an estate case if that attorney has a conflict of interest.
Here the conflict arose because the firm representing Kaci had an ongoing legal relationship with the same sheriff's department investigating potential murder charges against her, and the results of that investigation will have a dramatic impact on the estate.
Reference: New Orleans Advocate (March 19, 2015) "Legal battle begins over slain doctor's estate."