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By: Scott Grossman on September 30th, 2016

How Emails Can Cause Harm During a Trust or Estate Lawsuit

Administering the trust or estate of a loved one can create many different opportunities for potential disputes to arise. Therefore, it is important for anyone involved in the administration to use caution with regard to his or her actions and communications. This includes sending seemingly innocent emails to other parties involved in the matter. While you may think that your email is private, it is important to note that it can later be used against you if the dispute results in litigation.

Reasons to Use Caution When Sending Emails During a Trust or Estate Administration

Consider the following reasons:

  1. Emails are often sent while the sender is feeling highly emotional. Unfortunately, once it is sent, it cannot be undone. Remember that any written communication that is sent out will likely be read by a judge overseeing the trust or estate dispute. Credibility can easily be lost based upon the communications sent via email.
  2. The sender of the email may overstate his or her actual feelings. If this email is later used in court, it can make the sender appear hostile and irrational. This is because the sender is expressing feelings rather than facts. Parties to a trust or estate dispute should attempt to limit email communications to logistical details and concrete facts.
  3. Email correspondence doesn’t always capture the correct tone, humor, or irony that the sender intended. The message in the email may be offensive to the recipient.  As a result, the latter could lead to a trust and estate dispute. Instead attempt to delivered the message in person. Because body language and other context may have led to a different interpretation of the message by the recipient..
  4. Sending an email without first consulting with an experienced attorney can cause the sender to say that he or she is going to do something that is improper.  Similarly, the sender may request that the recipient take a certain action that is ultimately not in his or her best interest. This is because the personal representative, potential will or trust contestant, or beneficiary may be uninformed about the relevant legal issues and procedures that apply to his or her particular issue at the time the email is sent.


  5. Sending an email that repeats information learned from a person’s attorneys can destroy the attorney-client privilege. Maintaining attorney-client privilege is important. Due to fact that it protects certain communications that take place between a client and his or her attorney. When the privilege is lost, the information shared between the parties is no longer confidential. Moreover, the now shared information can be used against the individual during the trust or estate lawsuit.

Follow Up

Understanding what to do and not to do during the trust and estate administration process is not easy. Especially, for people who have no experience handling these types of matters. Fortunately, we can help. We encourage you to learn more about how we have helped many previous clients by checking out our client testimonials today.

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