Legal documents, what's the point of having lawyers draw them up when other lawyers can contest them at whim?

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Hi Gabriel Heiser, in another post, you mentioned about my lawyer being proper in not taking a case, as defending his own documents would not be proper, I'd like to ask/add: Can and should we all have in our contracts with lawyers, a stipulation that they will "defend" and be witness to their own documents if a suit ever comes up?! And without added cost. Like a guarantee for work well done! Would any lawyer even agree to this?

In our discovery, questions about my dad's Will came up. That attorney, an elder attorney, referred by an agency, met with my dad TWICE on two occasions and then wrote up the Will. When the suit happened, and we just wanted him to say something to the effect that he felt in his legal opinion my dad was competent to sign the Will, he instantly clammed up and said he'd need to be paid for any time on the matter.

Well, as you can see, instantly three lawyers become involved (plaintiff, defendant, and one who wrote up paperwork. Payday for the lawyers.

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Certainly an attorney must be held accountable for both the quality as well as appropriateness of his or her legal documents for a particular client. In the vast majority of cases, no problems will ever come up. In the unlikely event of a challenge to either the quality or appropriateness of the documents (or, in your situation, if the client was competent to sign the documents), the attorney who prepared the documents may well have to defend his or her actions in court. If that lawyer is actually being sued, then that attorney would have to defend him- or herself, or hire his or her own attorney to represent him or her in court, and the person suing the attorney won't be paying that attorney any fees for that attorney showing up in court.

If, however, the question of competency is merely a secondary issue in some other lawsuit, and the attorney is being brought in as a witness, then the party who requests the attorney as witness would pay that attorney his or her fees for the time involved.

As for getting attorneys to guarantee they will defend their own documents at no charge, I've never heard of such an arrangement. That being said, most attorneys do have malpractice insurance that will pay to defend the insured attorney if he or she is sued for possibly making an error in a document. In my 25 years of practicing law, I was never once sued, and I prepared hundreds of wills, trusts, deeds, etc., for many clients over that time period.
In our situation, my father changed his house deed from joint tenancy to tenants-in-common with his second wife (on the recommendation of elder attorney #1), then he did his Will and POA with another attorney (elder attorney #2). Around this time, a neurologist diagnosed him with Alzheimer's. When his second wife found out about the deed change, she challenged that based on her knowledge of the Alzheimer's diagnosis.

The issue was that on "our" side, we all felt he was competent enough to sign for his Will, POA and deed change. Just because he had a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer's, it didn't automatically mean he was incompetent. On the medical side, the docs said they couldn't give a legal impression. On the legal side, the lawyers say they can't give a medical diagnosis. Which in the end - leaves us with a plaintiff side trying to strip all powers and rights away from my dad in a power grab.

I'm sure simple letters from my dad's attorneys #1 & 2 reiterating they found him competent to sign when they talked with him (the second lawyer MET him twice), would have made a huge difference in the impression of the plaintiff lawyer and likely helped us to settle more quickly and towards the benefit of my father.

Instead, it turned out to be a protracted back-and-forth and going thru the lengthy discover (costly!), just to wind up settling with no real change in circumstances, except both sides spending a lot of cash.

Of course, neither of the lawyers were sued directly, lawyers know not to do that to each other. Instead "clients" bear the costs. And the lawyers who drew up the papers all "disappear," and since they are not sued directly--can. I guess one could depose them, but imagine -- a $300 fee to draw up a Will, becomes travel/day expenses of likely $1000+ to get deposed.

You mention trial, but understand that any trial incurs costs of $20,000-50,000 on both sides at minimum. So I guess what I'm asking and harping about, is for the lawyers to stand up for their own work prior to having to go to court.

At the end of the day, "my opinion" on my dad's competency really matters ZERO to the courts. I wish, if the lawyers (both of whom were highly recommended, members of the elder law network) had felt my dad was incapable they would not have drawn up the papers. But instead, they drew them up, signed their names along with my dad. But then nothing when a challenge came up.

The old "myth" that having a lawyer draw up papers is somehow more iron clad, is just that, a myth.

Not to bring any negative opinion to your work, I'm just making a "global" judgment about lawyers and the U.S. legal system based on my own one experience.

Thanks for the detailed response above.

I'm curious if others have had papers contested, refused by entities. For example, having trouble taking a Power of Attorney to the bank to make changes to a parent's account. etc.
I would like to know if there is any case law regarding an attorney who was challenged and did not stand up for the deceased, but he took the money and drew up the will.
I was told deeds could not be overturned,but they can.The lawyer who drew up our papers bailed on me-his secretary who typed the papers up for us went a cross the street and drew up conflicting papers for my brothers when I WAS OUT OF TOWN. She knew it was a conflict,but she did it anyhow. The lawyer who was involved wanted a third of the farm to straighten out the mess.I do not see how it could be legal for a secretary to knowingly draw up two conficting legal documents.Where's the ethics.
Hi Tennessee,


However, I think for the secretary it doesn't matter as she's just doing the paperwork, but the lawyers that sign the document, nobody can hold them accountable (without paying with an arm and a leg). It's a crazy legal racket.

Just like the Goldman Sachs "market-makers", lawyers just play both sides of the legal market. "Truth, justice and the American way" has been lost.
Yes,your right-she's just the secretary,but it's like you said-if he stood up for me or my dad or that paper it would be a different and cheaper outcome. He wanted a third of the farm. To add insult to injury he braggs about how much money is made on dying and family members and laughs. He wasn't the only one- I Shopped for a attorney and they all wanted the land also.I was so stupid I thought they were looking at my deeds to see if they were legally correct and they wanted to see them to size up my worth.It's like being in a pool of sharks and not knowing how to swim. Lawyers don't go up against other lawyers no more than a cop reports another cop. That is why the bar association is such a joke Lawyers policing lawyers. My dad always told me that the thug on the street was not the biggest criminal that men in three-piece suits out penciling you were. He said there are a lot of ways to steal with a pencil.Its just like mediation at 350.dollars a hour that is required,how many caregivers can afford that-how many people period can afford that. How they can take everything you got and laugh is beyond me.
When I brought up truth and justice they called me na'ive.I Thought lying was actually legal for the lawyers,that they were somehow immuned,but I have now learned it is a accepted practice that the legal system turns there backs on. They will even discuss amongst them selves have much they are getting-like a contest between kids.It is nothing but a racket-a immoral- evil-greedy -sad racket.
Hi Tennessee,

Yup, this is my experience also. Lawyers will only "take" the case if they see you have the money to pay a lot. Like you said, this mediation at $350 and hour, for several hours and likely to go on for several sessions. We are all just trying to get by and take care of our parents, who can afford such a thing?!

One of my lawyers said to me, "You're right, it's who has the money to put into the legal battle that usually wins." We've learned.
Yes,I was told the same thing whoever has the most money wins.I'm a single parent with young child. They look at my like takin candy away from a baby. They purposely break you financially,because once the money is gone=you lose.The tramactic part to me is the effect it has on my child, I've done my best to raise her to be honest and caring and this is what she sees. Adults who don't give a flip about whats right;the truth does not matter.Lawyers are like buzzards on the fence waiting for the next death.Unsuspecting people think that lawyers are there to help them when they are only there to help themselves. It scares me how many people on this site have no idea whats to come legally.
There are legal documents that are needed like a will and POA and a healthcare proxy you need to get a honest lawyer this is not the time to scrimep find somone who is well known and ask lots of questions and just becaues he gives semiares does not mean he is good I am sure a good lawyer will let you pay in instalments my lawyer asked for a retainer of 5 hrs to help me with medicaide and I used 1 hr and a few phones to his office then my husband died and he offered to give me all the money back and this man came highly recommanded and devote one day a week free of charge to the office of the agging-to avoid you do have to pay up front,

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