2014 New York Laws
CVP - Civil Practice Law & Rules
Article 45 - (4501 - 4548) EVIDENCE
4503 - Attorney.
4503. Attorney. (a) 1. Confidential communication privileged. Unless the client waives the privilege, an attorney or his or her employee, or any person who obtains without the knowledge of the client evidence of a confidential communication made between the attorney or his or her employee and the client in the course of professional employment, shall not disclose, or be allowed to disclose such communication, nor shall the client be compelled to disclose such communication, in any action, disciplinary trial or hearing, or administrative action, proceeding or hearing conducted by or on behalf of any state, municipal or local governmental agency or by the legislature or any committee or body thereof. Evidence of any such communication obtained by any such person, and evidence resulting therefrom, shall not be disclosed by any state, municipal or local governmental agency or by the legislature or any committee or body thereof. The relationship of an attorney and client shall exist between a professional service corporation organized under article fifteen of the business corporation law to practice as an attorney and counselor-at-law and the clients to whom it renders legal services.
2. Personal representatives. (A) For purposes of the attorney-client privilege, if the client is a personal representative and the attorney represents the personal representative in that capacity, in the absence of an agreement between the attorney and the personal representative to the contrary:
(i) No beneficiary of the estate is, or shall be treated as, the client of the attorney solely by reason of his or her status as beneficiary; and
(ii) The existence of a fiduciary relationship between the personal representative and a beneficiary of the estate does not by itself constitute or give rise to any waiver of the privilege for confidential communications made in the course of professional employment between the attorney or his or her employee and the personal representative who is the client.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, "personal representative" shall mean (i) the administrator, administrator c.t.a., ancillary administrator, executor, preliminary executor, temporary administrator or trustee to whom letters have been issued within the meaning of subdivision thirty-four of section one hundred three of the surrogate's court procedure act, and (ii) the guardian of an incapacitated communicant if and to the extent that the order appointing such guardian under subdivision (c) of section 81.16 of the mental hygiene law or any subsequent order of any court expressly provides that the guardian is to be the personal representative of the incapacitated communicant for purposes of this section; "beneficiary" shall have the meaning set forth in subdivision eight of section one hundred three of the surrogate's court procedure act and "estate" shall have the meaning set forth in subdivision nineteen of section one hundred three of the surrogate's court procedure act.
(b) Wills. In any action involving the probate, validity or construction of a will, an attorney or his employee shall be required to disclose information as to the preparation, execution or revocation of any will or other relevant instrument, but he shall not be allowed to disclose any communication privileged under subdivision (a) which would tend to disgrace the memory of the decedent.
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