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Staying Out of Trouble

Estate Planning Studies, p. 1, April 2012

8 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2012  

Gerry W. Beyer

Texas Tech University School of Law

Date Written: April 1, 2012


“This thorn in my side is from the tree I've planted.”

All it takes is one careless act to place you in the hot seat for months or years where you might watch your personal, professional, and financial life crumble around you.

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 and then focuses the reader’s attention on ethical issues that may arise while preparing or executing the plan. By recognizing 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: legal malpractice, professional responsibility, privity, estate planning

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Beyer, Gerry W., Staying Out of Trouble (April 1, 2012). Estate Planning Studies, p. 1, April 2012. Available at SSRN:

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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