In Shoemaker v. Gindlesberger, decided in May of this year, the Ohio Supreme Court held that: “A beneficiary of a decedent's will may not maintain a negligence action against an attorney for the preparation of a deed that results in increased tax liability for the estate.” In doing so, the Court approved and followed its 1987 decision in Simon v. Zipperstein. Under Zipperstein, an attorney who prepares a will for a client can not be liable in negligence to a third person the client intended to benefit under the will unless (i) the third person was in privity with the client or (ii) there are special circumstances present, such as fraud, bad faith, collusion or other malicious conduct.
Copyright Acknowledgment: This material is reprinted from the Probate Law Journal of Ohio with permission of Thomson Reuters. Copyright permission is on file.
Probate Law Journal of Ohio
Alan Newman, Shoemaker V. Gindlesberger: The Lack of Privity Defense Survives, But Just Barely, 18 Probate Law Journal of Ohio 214 (2008).