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Spousal Election: Suggested Equitable Reform For The Division Of Property At Death, Angela M. Vallario Apr 2003

Spousal Election: Suggested Equitable Reform For The Division Of Property At Death, Angela M. Vallario

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Testators have traditionally enjoyed immense discretion in directing the disposition of their wealth upon death; however, when a spouse survives the testator, public policy dictates a limitation on the testator's ability to dispose of property. American jurisdictions impose this limitation through the elective share in common law states and by the nature of property ownership in community property states. Ideally, this limitation should ensure equitable financial protection for the surviving spouse and protect his or her interest in assets that were accumulated with the decedent, yet the current elective share methods fall short of these goals.


Estate Planning Malpractice: Is Strict Privity Here To Stay?, Angela M. Vallario Mar 2003

Estate Planning Malpractice: Is Strict Privity Here To Stay?, Angela M. Vallario

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Under Maryland case law, a plaintiff in an estate planning malpractice action must be in strict privity with the attorney who drafted the will. To date, Maryland has not extended the third-party beneficiary exception to the estate planning arena.

Legatees specifically identified in a will by name or class are generally precluded from bringing a cause of action against the attorney for the attorney's alleged negligence, because in Maryland in order to recover for legal malpractice, a plaintiff must:show: "(1) the attorney's employment; (2) his neglect of a reasonable duty; and (3) loss to the client proximately ...