Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Estate Planning Attorneys May Be Held Liable in Legal Malpractice Lawsuits

Better-call-SaulGenerally, estate-planning attorneys in California who draft wills and trusts can only be sued by the client who hired them. There is a narrow exception to this rule. An attorney may be liable to a beneficiary when the attorney’s error harms the intended beneficiaries of the will or trust. The court will use a balancing test to determine if the attorney should be accountable for a drafting mistake. Among these factors are the extent of harm, foreseeability, and proximate cause. When all the balancing factors are met, a harmed beneficiary may successfully file suit against the drafting attorney. Of course, potential damages should be sufficient to warrant the suit; litigation may not be worth the effort in every circumstance.

See Keith Davidson, Estate Planning Attorneys May Be Held Liable in Legal Malpractice Lawsuits Where Intended Beneficiaries Lose Inheritance Under a California Trust or Will Due To Attorney Error, Albertson & Davidson, August 4, 2016.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2017/06/estate-planning-attorneys-may-be-held-liable-in-legal-malpractice-lawsuits.html

Estate Planning - Generally, Malpractice | Permalink

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