Who’s Your Client When Everybody is Your Client? Ethical Dilemmas for Estate and Business Planners in Representing Family Members
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Come talk about the Rules that govern attorney behavior in identifying and resolving conflicts, with practical letters and advice. Financial advisors and other trusted client representatives need to know these rules too to make sure the attorneys involved are following them – as the failure to observe these rules can have devastating effects on the estate plan or administration.
What could be more flattering to us than a client who is so pleased with our work that he wants us to represent his mother, his business, and his new business partners? Isn’t that what we strive for – to provide such good legal representation that our clients want us to work for them and for everyone they know? What could possibly be wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. But there is always a BUT.
Any attorney has a duty to perform legal services competently and diligently, while maintaining client confidentiality, and while communicating clearly and effectively to the client. But before we can get that far, we need to make sure our representation does not have conflicts, and if it does have conflicts (and many times it does) we need to resolve those conflicts before we even accept the representation.