Attorney–client Privilege Does Not Apply In A Will Contest Between Heirs

Attorney–client Privilege

On October 26, 2016, the Third District Court of Appeal issued its decision in Vasallo v. Bean, Case No. 3D16-1862. In this matter an attorney drafted two wills for a testator in which four of the five children of the testator were disinherited. The four disinherited children sought to revoke the probate of the two wills alleging lack of testamentary capacity and the undue influence by the fifth child who was named as the sole devisee in the latest will. The attorney was called as a witness and asserted the attorney-client privilege.

Petition Was Denied

The trial court, however, compelled the attorney to testify and the attorney sought certiorari review. Upon review the petition was denied. The Third DCA, citing Florida Statute § 90.502(4)(b), held that there is no attorney-client privilege when a communication is relevant to an issue between parties who claim through the same deceased client.