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Clients Can Sue Their NY Estate Attorney

We have written extensively about why many New Yorkers would need a New York estate planning lawyer, but what about clients who are not happy with the outcome of their estate issues? The Wall Street Journal reports that clients can now sue their NY estate attorney for malpractice a lot more easily. This is because of a New York Court of Appeals ruling that makes estate planning lawyers more liable for malpractice. The case, Schneider v. Finmann, deals with the legal concept of privity. Privity on contract is the relationship between two contracting parties.

Typically, when a person plans their estate with a New York estate planning lawyer, he or she is the only one who can sue for malpractice due to privity of contract. This means that heirs or beneficiaries are often barred from suing for malpractice because they don't have privity. This case has changed all of that. As a result, this particular case is of "huge import to estate planners," says Stephen M. Breitstone, a partner at Meltzer Lippe Goldstein & Breitstone in Mineola, NY.

While this case may open liability for estate planning attorneys, Governor Patterson recently passed a law that would prevent unwanted estate troubles. The law applies 2009 estate tax rules in order to address the 2010 federal estate tax lapse. This helps address any estate plans that did not account for the lapse.

While this law certainly helps with estate tax issues, it still helps to consult a New York estate planning lawyer.

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