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By: Scott Grossman on September 15th, 2016

Helpful Tips: Attorney Receiving Inheritance under a California Will

Losing a loved one is very difficult, both mentally and emotionally. Unfortunately, it is often at this time when families first learn about the contents of their deceased loved one’s will or trust. In some cases, the contents may not be surprising. One example of such a case is where the person who drafted the will or trust stands to receive property. Is an Attorney Receiving Inheritance allowed?

What are the laws in California with regard to an Attorney Receiving Inheritance under a California Will? The following is an overview:

  1. Generally, a lawyer who drafts a will for a client cannot receive an inheritance from that individual.
  2. If the lawyer is not related to the testator, the conflict of interest cannot be avoided.
  3. An attorney may be subject to discipline for undue influence if he or she received a substantial gift under the will that he or she drafted.
  4. If the client received independent advice regarding the drafting of the will, this may be an exception.
  5. When the attorney drafts a will and includes an inheritance to himself or herself, it opens up the will to claims of undue influence.

Clearly, when a lawyer stands to inherit under a will that he or she drafted and is not related to the testator, the heirs of the estate should see this as a red flag. Since the gift to the attorney could be challenged, it is vital that legal representation be sought immediately. In some cases, will and trust litigation matters may be handled on a contingency fee basis.

If you are ready to start your case, then please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form.  If you want a comprehensive overview of California Probate, then click here. Should you have additional questions about trust litigation, then you will find plenty of useful information in our Learning Center.