These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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LEO NumTopicsSummary

8-Bills and Fees

16-Lawyer's Personal Interests

18-Consent and Prospective Waivers

60-Lawyers Acting as Trustees

61-Lawyers Acting as Executors

76-Trust and Estate Lawyers


This LEO outlines the principle governing a lawyer acting as executor or trustee: a pre-existing attorney-client relationship is not necessary, but is one factor showing the propriety of the lawyer's selection. The lawyer must fully disclose the fees that will be charged (preferably in writing) and "has a duty to suggest that the client investigate potential fees of others who might otherwise provide such services." A lawyer acting as executor or trustee may hire the lawyer's own law firm to represent him or her as long as there is full disclosure (including "the general compensation to be paid to the law firm") and consent (if the client is already dead, the beneficiaries can consent). A lawyer acting as a fiduciary is governed by the Code. A lawyer may solicit designation as a fiduciary as long as there is no overreaching or fraud. (Approved by the Supreme Court 2/1/94)

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn