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In publishing book, need I change first/last name of executor who raided our mother's estate and ignored terms of her will?

East Hampton, NY |
Filed under: Wills Probate

am ready to e-publish book which consists of letters between those of us who live outside Georgia and our Atlanta attorneys where Mother died and the executor lived.

The book exposes extraordinary misuse of trust and useless Georgia law supposedly in place to protect beneficiaries from executive malfeasance.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. If this is being published as a work of fiction, then you can use whatever name you wish. If it is non-fiction, and you use the executor's name, then the information had better be true, or you are begging for a defamation action. Truth is an affirmative defense to defamation. But you may be looking at a lawsuit, regardless. I guess you need to weigh that risk and ask yourself if it is worth it.

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

  2. By all means, the book should be "vetted" by an attorney experienced in publishing law and defamation, not only for protection from liability for defamation, but to make it publishable and marketable down the road. A publisher that might otherwise be interested in picking up the book if sales go well, will not be looking to pay an advance to take on a lawsuit.

    Nothing stated in this answer, or on any pages linked to this answer, shall be construed as legal advice, nor shall anything in this answer by itself operate to create an attorney/client relationship.

  3. My colleagues are both correct. You need to have the publication reviewed by an attorney familiar with such issues. Regardless, you should expect to require the assistance of defense counsel (for defamation) after the book is published notwithstanding that truth is a defense.

    When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.

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