Sunday, September 4, 2011

How not to practice law: prepare a will for the client in which the client names you or your wife as the beneficiary

There must be something going around about this...  Three separate cases reported within the last couple of weeks involved attorneys getting disciplined for preparing wills in which they named themselves or their wives as beneficiaries.

In one case, a New York attorney appointed as a guardian to an incapacitated person was disbarred for helping her prepare a will in favor of the attorney's wife.  Interestingly, he used her maiden name.  I wonder why? You can read the opinion here.

In a similar case, however, the Illinois Review Board found that a censure was the appropriate sanction for an  attorney who drafted a will that left a small portion of the deceased's residual estate to the attorney's wife.  That opinion is available here.

In the third case, the Illinois Review Board recommended that a public censure for an attorney who drafted a series of trusts and wills in which he was one of the beneficiaries. In this case, the board found it significant that there was a close, longstanding relationship between the attorney and the deceased.  That opinion is available here.

No comments:

Post a Comment