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Legal Malpractice Attorney Recommendation- Estate Law

Discussion in 'Lawyers, Legal Practice, Ethics & the Bar' started by Kristina Robinson, May 27, 2021.

  1. Kristina Robinson

    Kristina Robinson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    Hello,

    Can someone recommend to me a lawyer in Georgia (preferably Marietta or Atlanta) that specializes in legal malpractice? I'm particularly interested in a lawyer(s) that have experience pursuing legal malpractice against estate planning attorneys. Thank you!
     
  2. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    This site does not do referrals. Call the Georgia Bar Association and ask for a referral:


    State Bar Of Georgia
     
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  3. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    I have two comments. First, there are probably few if any lawyers in your area that have any extensive experience in malpractice cases against estate planning attorneys in particular as such cases do not come up very often to begin with. Moreover, the fundamentals of legal malpractice are the same whether the attorney is an estate planning attorney, tax attorney, or personal injury litigator. So focus on finding a good legal malpractice attorney and don't put too much emphasis on specific experience with suing estate planning attorneys.

    Second, legal malpractice cases are generally those in which the client sues his/her attorney for providing legal advice or representation that falls below the minimum standard in the legal profession. That's because it is primarily the client to whom the attorney has the duty of care. I mention this because I sometimes see disgruntled potential heirs of an estate wanting to sue the attorney of the decedent for malpractice and that can fail because they weren't the clients of the attorney. There are some exceptions to that, such as the case where the client clearly told the lawyer he wanted to make a particular gift to the plaintiff (the decedent's spouse) in his will and the lawyer failed to provide for that. In that case, the spouse was a third party beneficiary (which is a term that has particular meaning in the law and not the same as the beneficiary of an estate) which gave her standing.

    It is clear from the record that James Williams hired Young to draft a will so that **626 certain people would inherit his property upon his death. James Williams specifically told Young that he intended Betsy Williams to inherit the marital residence. Young admitted that, in drafting a will, he owed to the intended beneficiaries a duty similar to the duty he owed the testator in making sure the testator's intent is carried out. He also testified that he had never seen a will that did not contain a general residuary clause, and admitted that his failure to include such a clause in the will violated his standard of care. An expert testified by affidavit that the failure to include a residuary clause in the will violated the standard of care required of attorneys. The trial court properly granted partial summary judgment to Betsy Williams as a third-party beneficiary of the agreement between Young and James Williams.

    Young v. Williams, 285 Ga. App. 208, 210, 645 S.E.2d 624, 625–26 (2007). So while there are circumstances in which a disappointed heir could win a malpractice case against the attorney who drafted the will, it can be a challenge. I don't know if that is the situation you have, but in case it is I wanted to make you aware of the issue.
     
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  4. Kristina Robinson

    Kristina Robinson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for letting me know this. The client in this case- my grandmother-would sadly now be dead. My particular case concerns an attorney who was NOT told his client was in advanced dementia. I have created another post with more details in hopes of getting a more clear cut answer. Thank you very much for your time and educating me on the limitations my father is most likely up against for any potential legal malpractice claim he may try to bring. -Kristina
     

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