The “wills exception” to solicitor-client privilege

Solicitor-client privilege means communications between a lawyer and a client, are confidential. Thus, if a third party wants to see what a client told their lawyer when seeking advice, the court will not allow this.

However, there exists a “wills exception” to solicitor-client privilege. That is, when a will is disputed, and it is not clear what the deceased intended, the court can order that key records be released.

The basis for this exception is that if privilege was simply rigidly upheld, this would prevent a court from seeing evidence which could shed light on the true intention of a testator for their estate.

Thus, for those with concerns about whether a will is valid, a key source of evidence can sometimes be found in the lawyer’s notes which were created when a Will was made. Such solicitors’ records will often be very persuasive as they are made contemporaneously by lawyers trained to look for capacity, and who stood to receive nothing under the estate.

James Steele’s preferred practise area is estate litigation, including will challenges, executor disputes, power of attorney issues, etc. Contact James Steele at 1-306-933-1338 or j.steele@rslaw.com. The above is for general information only. Parties should always seek legal advice prior to taking action in specific situations. Copyright 2018 by the author. All rights reserved. 

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The Saskatchewan Estate Law blog is dedicated to providing practical, real-world information on Estate Law issues that affect Saskatchewan residents. The blog is written by RS lawyer, James Steele, whose practice focuses on estate litigation.

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Articles & ResearchThe “wills exception” to solicitor-client privilege