(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.

Terms Used In N.Y. Civil Practice Law and Rules 4503

  • Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • Decedent: A deceased person.
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Executor: A male person named in a will to carry out the decedent
  • Fiduciary: A trustee, executor, or administrator.
  • Grantor: The person who establishes a trust and places property into it.
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • Probate: Proving a will
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • Trustee: A person or institution holding and administering property in trust.

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;

(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; and

(iii) The fiduciary’s testimony that he or she has relied on the attorney’s advice shall not by itself constitute such a waiver.

(B) For purposes of this paragraph, “personal representative” shall mean (i) the administrator, administrator c.t.a.,

ancillary administrator, executor, preliminary executor, temporary administrator, lifetime trustee 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 § 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 and revocable trusts. In any action involving the probate, validity or construction of a will or, after the grantor‘s death, a revocable trust, an attorney or his employee shall be required to disclose information as to the preparation, execution or revocation of any will, revocable trust, 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.