May 12, 2011
Thy Brother's Lawyer
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has ordered a six-month suspension of an attorney for ethical violations as appointed guardian of an incapacitated adult. The attorney engaged in a conflict of interest by providing legal advice to his client's brother. The advice also was incompetent, as the attorney set up a special needs trust that failed to contain a required provision to repay Medicaid to offset the costs of benefit payments.
The court rejected the contention that the attorney did not represent the brother. The court also rejected the suggestion that his conduct was permissible under Rule 1.14 (client with diminshed capacity). The rule did not apply to conduct and disclosures made after the death of the client.
The attorney had a record of prior discipline. (Mike Frisch)
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