Lancaster, NY asked in Legal Malpractice, Estate Planning and Elder Law for New York

Q: Can a lawyer be held accountable for NOT providing legal service to his client?

Elderly client moved in with daughter who had coerced her to change her will and make her power of attorney. Elderly client asked lawyer to revise will without involving this daughter. She told him she was in fear of daughter, her finding out and taking it out on her because she found out daughter(s) and grandchildren were stealing money from her. Lawyer refused, stating he didn't want to get involved. Since, elderly client has died.

1 Lawyer Answer
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: If an attorney was simply approached out of the blue, the general rule is that the attorney is free to accept or decline a matter. Same goes for the prospective client, who is free to retain or not retain an attorney. There are instances where an attorney may not easily withdraw, such as in an ongoing attorney-client relationship where a statute of limitations is looming, where withdrawal requires leave of the court, or other special circumstances. If there are more facts to the matter, you could reach out to estate planning attorneys to discuss in further detail. Good luck

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