These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

A lawyer is not obligated to advise an insurance company that the client has died if the lawyer is able to work with the administrator to settle the case within the range authorized by the client before the client's death, although the lawyer should advise the insurance company at the time settlement is reached that the client has died, that the settlement was within the amount authorized by the client and that the administrator has approved the settlement. [If the client's death would arguably affect the settlement, failing to disclose the death might violate Rule 3.3(a)(2) and Rule 4.1(b), which prohibits a lawyer from knowingly failing to disclose a fact if disclosure is necessary "to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client."]

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn