Making Sense of Legal Malpractice
in Estate Planning

Document that says Legal Malpractice next to gavel and pen

Making Sense of Legal Malpractice in Estate Planning

An estate planning attorney carries burdensome responsibilities when preparing a client’s will or trust. Any negligent action or inaction on their part can intrude on a testators’ right to convey assets and can cause substantial economic damage to heirs and beneficiaries.

In theory, only a client can hold an attorney personally liable for professional negligence (legal malpractice). This rule does not apply however to controversies involving damages to an estate sustained from negligent planning.

The Iowa courts have affirmed estate planning lawyers may assume an implied fiduciary relationship with a testator’s estate as an entity, allowing intended beneficiaries and heirs to respond on behalf of the estate to redress damages.

Actionable estate malpractice claims often seek remedies for an attorney’s negligent drafting of testamentary documents.

Improper execution of a will or trust may also prompt an heir or beneficiary to file a professional negligence complaint on behalf of the estate.

The courts however will refuse to impose liability on estate planning attorneys when heirs or beneficiaries claim special damages.

Litigating and defending the actions and omissions of estate planning attorneys accused of professional negligence is what the legal malpractice lawyers at Smith Law in Iowa do; and they do it extremely well. 

Common Questions

Legal Issues Relating to Legal Malpractice in Estate Law

Lawsuits redressing a breach of duty of care, honesty, or loyalty by estate planning attorneys.

A claim that asserts an attorney coerced, pressured or persuaded a testator to include provisions in a will or trust that he wouldn’t have normally included had the attorney’s influence not been present.
A challenge that contends the will or trust in controversy is not a true reflection of the testator’s intent because another party has forged the testamentary document or because another party’s fraudulent misrepresentation deceived the testator into signing or changing the will.
Negligence by an attorney for not overseeing strict probate procedural requirements during will or trust execution.

Experienced Legal Malpractice Litigation in Iowa

The Smith Law Firm litigates and defends legal malpractice claims.

Seek counsel from one of our seasoned malpractice attorneys if you wish to hold an estate planning lawyer accountable for their negligence and damages they caused to your estate or to you personally.

We are the go-to probate litigators in Iowa for working out probate disputes.

And don’t forget. “It’s our mission to save you money by resolving your legal malpractice claim out of court or in mediation.”


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Check out our blog and learn more about legal malpractice in Iowa.


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“It’s our mission to save you money by resolving your legal malpractice claim out of court or in mediation.”