Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wilson v. Clancy case brief

Wilson v. Clancy case brief summary
747 F.Supp. 1154 (D. Md. 1990)

Plaintiff testamentary beneficiary filed a third-party malpractice action against defendant attorney with regard to the drafting of the testator's last will and testament, which replaced an earlier will that gave her a larger share of the testator's estate. The attorney's motion for summary judgment was before the court.

The testator and his wife executed their wills. The wills gave a beneficiary a one-eighth share of the estate. After the wife was placed in a nursing home the testator executed a new will that gave the beneficiary a one-half interest. All of the couple's property was joint property. The revised will bequeathed the property as if it were titled solely in the testator. The attorney who drafted the will told the testator that he needed to re-title his property, which he did not do. The testator died, and on the wife's death the property was distributed in accordance with her will. The beneficiary received one-eighth of the estate and she filed a third-party malpractice suit against the attorney.


  • The court granted the attorney's motion for summary judgment. 
  • It was not malpractice for the attorney to draft a will that he knew would not be effective until the client took further steps, and, at the same time, to advise the client to take those steps. 
  • The attorney stated in his deposition that he had informed his client of the need to re-title the property. 
  • The affidavit of the testator's bookkeeper that he did not mention the need to re-title the property was not admitted.

The court granted summary judgment to the attorney who drafted the testator's will in the third-party malpractice action filed against him by a testamentary beneficiary.

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