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The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

OPINION 64-61
October 6, 1964

A lawyer may notify his clients, whose wills are prepared by the lawyer, of changes in federal tax law or regulations which may affect their wills.

Canons: 27, 28
Opinion: ABA 210

Vice-Chairman Kittleson stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar inquires if a lawyer may ethically notify his clients, whose wills are prepared by the lawyer, of changes in federal tax law or regulations which may affect a will previously prepared by the lawyer for his client.

A lawyer may ethically call a client's attention to changes in the law which may bear on the client's previously-executed will. The propriety depends upon these conditions: the lawyer (or his firm) prepared the will; the lawyer has no reason to believe that the will has been revoked or superseded; the lawyer has reason to believe that, because of the new developments in the law, the existing will may no longer achieve the testator's desires; and the lawyer does not solicit or suggest his or his firm's professional employment. An indirect suggestion of employment is, unfortunately, unavoidably implicit in the communication, but this ethical weakness is outweighed by the benefit and service to the client. An ethical lawyer will not, of course, send out such communications indiscriminately, but will be certain that they are clearly justified by a lawyer-client relationship and by the client's need to know.

The subject is also covered by Opinion 210 of the Professional Ethics Committee of the American Bar Association and is discussed in Drinker, Legal Ethics, page 254.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]