LEO: Insurance - Disclosing Death of Client  LE Op. 952


Insurance - Disclosing Death of Client.


July 31, 1987


A client authorized an attorney to settle his personal injury case within

a range of values. A demand was made and a counteroffer was received from

the insurer. Following receipt of the counteroffer, the client died and

the administrator of the estate authorized the attorney to accept the last

settlement offer which was within the range authorized by the client.


It is not improper, given the above, for the attorney not to disclose the

death of his client to the insurance company absent a direct inquiry from

the insurance company regarding the client's health. The committee opines

that in order to avoid an appearance of impropriety, the attorney should

disclose the death of his client at the time he accepts the offer of

settlement and let the opposing side know that the client authorized the

range for settlement prior to his death and that the estate's

administrator has also authorized the settlement. [ DR:1-102(A) (4)]


Committee Opinion July 31, 1987