Helping Adult Children Understand Why They Have to Wait Outside

Published On: 02/06/2019

Helping Adult ChildrenEvery elder law attorney who meets with a client escorted to the office by his or her adult child(ren) faces some potential ethics issues.


The first ethics issue is to define who is the client. The client is typically the senior adult in need of executing estate planning documents to ensure the proper transfer of assets upon passing or incapacity. This can often be confusing, especially if the adult child is paying for the attorney’s fees. Distancing an adult child from the conversation with his or her parent- who is the actual client of the attorney—is an ethical consideration in representing the client(s) properly.


One of the fiduciary duties that an attorney owes to a client is the duty of confidentiality. A fundamental principle of an attorney’s relationship with a client is that the attorney must not reveal any information related to the representation without the consent of the client. Building a trusting relationship is essential in ensuring that full disclosures are made, especially information critical to the legal matter. For this reason, it is generally best to meet with the client alone and have the adult child remain in the waiting room at least for some portion of the meeting.

The duty of confidentiality may be waived by the client. In the example above, parents are free to waive confidentiality and request that the adult child be present during the consultation.

However, it is best for the elder law attorney to meet with the parents alone initially to discuss the concept of confidentiality so that the parents can provide informed consent to such waiver. For more information on estate planning in the Greater Baltimore area, please contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599.

To learn more or get started on your estate plan, just schedule a time to visit us for a no obligation complimentary consultation.

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Post Author

Britt Stouffer

Britt L. Stouffer is a Maryland attorney experienced in Estates, Trusts, and Elder Law. With over 10 years of experience in Estates and Trusts, she has learned to appreciate how unique each client truly is. On a typical day, you will find her working on Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, Tax Planning cases, Estate Administration filings, Petitions for Guardianships, Special Needs Planning, and Asset Protection.

658 Kenilworth Dr., Ste. 203, Towson, MD 21204

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