Friday, May 16, 2014

Testamentary Exception To Attorney-Client Privilege Recognized

A busy day for attorney issues in the Maryland Court of Appeals.

In addition to three disbarments (two of which we have linked to), the court held

As evidenced by this Court’s holding in Benzinger, the testamentary exception has existed in Maryland for close to a century, despite never having been formally named. Nonetheless, it has been some time since this Court has spoken on the testamentary exception. For this reason, we reaffirm that in a dispute between putative heirs or devisees under a will or trust, the attorney-client privilege does not bar admission of testimony and evidence regarding communication between the decedent and any attorneys involved in the creation of the instrument, provided that evidence or testimony tends to help clarify the donative intent of the decedent.

(Mike Frisch)

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