Reprimand for solicitor who added clause to client’s will without consent
January 23, 2017
A Brunswick solicitor who added a provision to a client’s will without her knowledge or consent has been found guilty of professional misconduct.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard sole practitioner, Mr Dino De Marchi of De Marchi & Associates, had been retained to prepare a will for a client which named him as the executor.
When preparing the will, Mr De Marchi added a provision requiring him, or his law practice, to undertake all future legal work for the client’s estate. The client had not requested any such provision be included, and Mr De Marchi failed to inform his client in writing of the provision being included before she signed the will.
VCAT found Mr De Marchi guilty of one charge of professional misconduct for inserting the clause in the will and one charge of unsatisfactory professional conduct for failing to immediately decline to act on his client’s instructions to draw a will under which he was to receive a substantial benefit.
VCAT reprimanded Mr De Marchi, fined him $5,000 and ordered he pay the Commissioner’s costs agreed at $15,000.
For further information, download the VCAT decision.