All aspects of trust and estate practice are fraught with ethical issues. Certain elderly or even non-elderly clients may suffer from diminished capacity. What directions may a lawyer take from these clients? There are also issues of identifying your client. Though in many cases it seems obvious, in other common situations it is not. A lawyer may represent a fiduciary but there is authority that the lawyer may owe a duty to beneficiaries. There are also many ethical issues when someone other than a client pays for a representation. Who controls the representation? What information, if any, may be disclosed to the payer? How is the attorney-client privilege preserved? There are also a host of issues related to conflicts of interest, particularly when multiple parties – spouses or multiple generations of a family –are involved. There are potential ethical traps everywhere. This program will provide you with a practical guide to ethical issues in your trust and estate practice.
· Ethical issues in trust and estate practice
· Working with clients with diminished capacity and protecting against challenges
· Confidentiality – understanding what information is confidential and when and to whom it can be disclosed
· Conflicts of interest – joint and common representations, husbands and wives, multiple generations of a family
· Gifts from clients – what lawyers may accept, what should they decline?
· Special issues when someone other than the client pays for a representation
· How representing fiduciaries may also imply duties to beneficiaries
William Freivogel is the principal of Freivogel Ethics Consulting and is an independent consultant to law firms on ethics and risk management. He was a trial lawyer for 22 years and has practiced in the areas of legal ethics and lawyer malpractice for more than 25 years. He is chair of the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct. and past chair of the ABA Business Law Section Committee on Professional Responsibility. He maintains the Web site “Freivogel on Conflicts” at www.freivogelonconflicts.com. Mr. Freivogel is a graduate of the University of Illinois (Champaign), where he received his B.S. and LL.B.