Friday, October 27, 2006
The following excerpt is from Daniel Ostrovsky, Fla. Bar Urged to Help Estate Lawyers Avoid Ethics Pitfall, Daily Bus. Rev., Oct. 27, 2006:
Some estate and trust lawyers are urging the Florida Bar to recommend tighter rules governing lawyers who draft a client's will or trust and also serve as the personal representative or trustee for the estate.
Florida Supreme Court rules prohibit lawyers from being named as beneficiaries in the wills they draft for clients. But nothing stops them from being designated as personal representative or trustee. As the personal representative or trustee, an attorney stands to earn significant fees. * * *
If lawyers place themselves in fiduciary roles in wills or trust documents they draft, it is imperative that they set up a legal mechanism that allows for their removal from such positions, said Christopher Boyett, Holland & Knight's South Florida private wealth team leader based in Miami. "It's absolutely awful to set up a situation where you cannot be removed," he said.
Kelley said, however, that resolving this ethical dilemma is not high on the Bar's priority list.
Special thanks to Prof. Paul Caron for bringing this bill to my attention.