The trust and estate attorney as “family lawyer” – Separate Clients

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It is not uncommon for an estate attorney who is known to the family to be approached by members of multiple generations to represent them in estate planning matters. Unlike the husband-and-wife scenario, this situation does not lend itself to joint representation because of the high risk of conflicts of interest.

Instead, the attorney must be engaged by each family member separately. This arrangement does not exclude the coordination of estate plans, and limited exchange of other information, but all involved must have clarity about what information will be shared and what not. Again, the CA Rules of Professional Responsibility require that all concerned consent to the arrangement in writing.

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