When the millionaire owner of a thriving business dies without a will, leaving only a wife and a child from a previous marriage to sort out his possessions, chances are things are going to get ugly.
That’s exactly what they did in a recent case before the Illinois First District Appellate Court, which held that a law firm hired to represent the deceased’s widow and the estate also allegedly owed a duty to the estate itself and can be liable to the estate for alleged legal malpractice if the allegations in the malpractice lawsuit pan out.
The estate case was hotly contested and was ultimately settled. Alma and her counsel denied all of the claims and the court made no finding of wrongdoing.
The appellate decision outlines the disputed facts at issue as follows. Scott H. died intestate in 2005, leaving millions of dollars in assets including the then successful Chicago Minibus Travel, Inc., which became the chief source of dispute between his only heirs, his widow Alma and son, Kyle, from a previous marriage. Alma was appointed the Administrator of Scott’s estate and hired the defendant law firm to represent her.