Informal Opinion Number: 20010007

Rules: 4-1.6; 4-3.3
Client-Lawyer Relationship
Confidentiality of Information

QUESTION: Attorney represents Personal Representative in a decedent’s estate. The claim period has passed and there are very few legatees. Personal Representative would like to sell estate real estate in a transaction that Attorney has told Personal Representative would need the consent of all of the legatees. If Personal Representative persists in the sale, must Attorney withdraw? If so, must Attorney inform the court of the improper sale?ANSWER: If Attorney is unable to persuade Personal Representative to follow the proper procedure in the sale of the real estate, Attorney must withdraw as Personal Representative’s attorney. The information about the sale is confidential information under Rule 4-1.6. Attorney may not disclose that information to the court without the consent of Personal Representative, unless disclosure is necessary, under Rule 4-3.3, to correct a representation Attorney has made to the court.

Informal Opinions are ethics advisory opinions issued by the Office of Legal Ethics Counsel to members of the Bar about Rule 4 (Rules of Professional Conduct), Rule 5 (Complaints and Proceedings Thereon), and Rule 6 (Fees to Practice Law) pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5.30(c). Written summaries of select Informal Opinions are published for informational purposes as determined by the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri pursuant to Rule 5.30(c). Informal opinion summaries are advisory in nature and are not binding. These opinions are published as an educational service and do not constitute legal advice.

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