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A paralegal case study

Evelyn Ellerbe is a paralegal who works for an estate planning lawyer Timothy Taft. An elderly client, Sam Stone, comes in after his wife ides to have his will rewritten. It turns out that he is a neighbor of Evelyn, who takes a liking to Sam and begins to help him out by stopping by his house once or twice a week with groceries. After two years, during which Evelyn and Sam continue to be friends, Sam asks Timothy to rewrite his will for the purpose of leaving Evelyn half of his estate.

Is it ethical for Tim to rewrite his will for the purpose of leaving Evelyn half of his estate?

Is it ethical for Tim to draft Sam's will with this provision?

Is it ethical for Evelyn to assist in the preparation of the will?

If the will is challenged, what will the court consider in deciding whether to void the gift?

Would it make any difference to your answer if Sam had no other relatives?

Would it make any difference if Sam and Evelyn had developed a sexual relationship?

Solution Preview

The main issues in this problem are undue influence and attorney ethics.

It is fine for Taft to rewrite Sam's will as long as he uses his professional discretion and expertise to effect what Sam wants, even if it is giving part of Sam's estate to his employee.

With regards to Evelyn's participation, this gets a bit ...

Solution Summary

A paralegal case study illustrates many legal premises.

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