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Avoid Being a Defendant: Estate Planning Malpractice and Ethical Concerns

25 Pages Posted: 31 May 2011  

Gerry W. Beyer

Texas Tech University School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 20, 2011


An estate planner may become a defendant in a case involving an estate he or she planned in two main ways. First, the attorney may have performed his or her services in a negligent manner potentially creating exposure to malpractice liability. Second, the attorney’s conduct may have lapsed below ethically acceptable standards.

This article reviews the exposure an estate planner may have to malpractice liability with emphasis on Texas law and then focuses the reader’s attention on ethical issues that may arise while preparing or executing the plan. I hope that by pointing out potentially troublesome areas, the reader will avoid the ramifications of drafting a flawed estate plan or having a lapse of ethical good judgment which may lead to the frustration of the client’s intent, financial loss to the client or the beneficiaries, personal embarrassment, and possible disciplinary action.

Keywords: professional responsibility, ethics, malpractice, wills, trusts, estate planning

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Beyer, Gerry W., Avoid Being a Defendant: Estate Planning Malpractice and Ethical Concerns (May 20, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Gerry W. Beyer (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University School of Law ( email )

1802 Hartford
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States
806-834-4270 (Phone)
978-285-7941 (Fax)


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