Ethics Opinion 188

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinions

Opinion #188 – 04/28/1971 (14-71)

Topic: Solicitation of Clients
Digest: Calling attention of clients to the passage of time since execution of Wills and possible need of redraft is not improper
Code: DR 2-104 (A) (1), EC 2-1; 2-3; 2-4

QUESTION

May an attorney notify each client for whom he has drawn a will that the will is five years old and recommend that it be reviewed?

OPINION

This Committee concurs with ABA 210 (1941) which states in part:”Many events transpire between the date of making the will and the death of the testator. The legal significance of such occurrences are often of serious consequence, of which the testator may not be aware, and so the importance of calling the attention of the testator thereto is manifest.”It is our opinion that where the lawyer has no reason to believe that he has been supplanted by another lawyer, it is not only his right, but it might even be his duty to advise his client of any change of fact or law which might defeat the client’s testamentary purpose as expressed in the will.”Periodic notices might be sent to the client for whom a lawyer has drawn a will, suggesting that it might be wise for the client to reexamine his will to determine whether or not there has been any change in his situation requiring a modification of his will.”An attorney may call the attention of his clients to factors which inure to their benefit in relation to matters regarding which he has been consulted, and the attorney may, in fact, have a duty to do so. EC 2-1, 3 and 4; DR 2-104(A)(1); cf. ABA 213 (1941).There is no ethical objection to the will review program proposed.

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