Articles Posted in Wills, Estates, and Trusts

The New York State Supreme Court (Shafer, J) reiterates that to sue an attorney for malpractice arising out of alleged negligent will preparation there must be an attorney client relationship before the beneficiaries may sue for legal malpractice in New York. That is, there must be “privity” of contract between the attorney and her client before the client has standing to sue for legal malpractice. For a complete copy of the recent decision Leff v Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP.

Beneficiaries of wills who get less than they think they are due often call us to determine if they have any claims against the attorney. The answer in New York State tends to be who, if anyone, may sue for legal malpractice when attorneys make mistakes planning estates.

As upheld by this Court, New York is one of the few states which recognizes the “doctrine of privity,” meaning that, when the decedent died, she may be the only one who could have sued the attorney for screwing up the estate plan. This rule is relaxed in the presence of “fraud,

Why do so few people choose to control the disposition of their own estates after they die? Perhaps you fear death, you procrastinate, you are too lazy to think about your death, or you think that a will is unnecessary or too expensive. Why haven’t you e-mailed your lawyer, called your closing attorney, or actively engaged in executing a will? What is holding you back?

There is a debate among various elder law attorneys and marketing professionals about why New Yorkers and fellow Americans do not see their local attorney to prepare or revise their Last Will and Testament. Did you know that more people die without a will than with one!!

There are two givens in life– death and taxes. So, why not control what happens in death through the execution and preparation of a Will? Do you really want the New York State Legislature to dictate where your personal belongings go after you die? The truth is that all people in New York State are empowered to execute a Will to override the rules relating to “intestacy” (where your stuff goes if you don’t have a Will).