May 5, 2008
Judge May Not Serve As Trustee When Trust Is In Litigation
The Massachusetts Committee on Judicial Ethics recently issued an opinion concluding that a newly-appointed judge may not continue to serve as the trustee for a trust that is involved in litigation:
The committee is of the opinion...that your continued service as a trustee of this trust while it is in litigation would be inconsistent with your obligations under Section 2A of the Code. Consequently, you should take such steps as are appropriate to remove yourself as a trustee promptly and should instruct whoever is handling the litigation to seek a stay of proceedings in the appropriate court to permit you to do so. While the committee recognizes your desire to engage a successor trustee who will be agreeable to the beneficiaries, if you are unable to engage an agreeable successor promptly, and if a provision of the trust contains a mechanism for appointment of a successor trustee when a willing successor cannot be found, you should utilize that provision to produce your successor.
Interestingly, the request for an opinion was in the form of an email. (Mike Frisch)
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