This is a continuing series in which we address policy coverage questions that we routinely discuss with you and your colleagues. The answers provided are based on the basic policy form, currently LPLP-1t; refer to your specific policy and any endorsements attached thereto that may change coverage or the answers provided. As you should expect, these Q&A scenarios are based on simple hypotheticals. Coverage determinations for an actual claim are ultimately based on the unique facts, applicable law, and the Terms, Conditions, Limitations, Exclusions, and Endorsements of your policy.
The opposing party sued me, am I covered?
Coverage is not dependent on which party is suing you! The policy covers “Claims” arising out of “Professional Services.” Is Billy upset that mom cut him out of the family trust for not visiting her on that one birthday in the ’90s and decides to sue you for drafting the amendment? The fact that you only represented mom and never represented Billy does not preclude coverage, although it may provide you a viable defense in Ohio.
As a practice tip, document client decisions that significantly reduce or eliminate an heir’s or beneficiary’s expected distribution with a letter to the client requiring a counter-signature and acknowledgment by the client. Then save a pdf or hardcopy in your file. Use “CYA letters” to cover your assumptions and client instructions and directions that the client or other parties are likely to challenge. We have never encountered a situation in which we regretted a CYA letter’s existence.