May 17

Executor Does Not Have Standing to Pursue Legal Malpractice Claim When Estate Is Not Damaged


Marietta Meisler had a trust that apportioned assets equally between her two children. In 2000, she hired Richard Weinberg to draft another trust that gave her daughter, Carole Meisler, a 60 percent interest in the trust.

After Marietta died, Carole sued Mr. Weinberg for legal malpractice, alleging that his failure to include successor replacement language in the trust led to the estate not being divided according to Marietta’s wishes. Mr. Weinberg filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court found Carole did not have standing to sue for legal malpractice, and Carole appealed, arguing that as executor, she had standing to sue.

The Ohio Court of Appeals, Eighth District, affirms, holding that Carole does not have standing to sue Mr. Weinberg because she did not have an attorney-client relationship with him and the damages sought are individual to Carole. The court rules that an executor does not have “standing to assert a legal malpractice claim when the estate as a whole has not been diminished.” The court notes that even if Carole has standing, there is no evidence that the attorney acted contrary to Marietta’s wishes.

For the full text of this decision, go to: