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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3-Multiple Representations on the Same Matter

75-Representing Estates and Executors

76-Trust and Estate Lawyers

A lawyer representing an executor and one of two beneficiaries: does not have a conflict unless the lawyer also represents the other beneficiary; must advise the client that communications with the client as beneficiary may not be entitled to attorney-client privilege protection, because communications with the client as fiduciary may similarly not be protected from disclosure to the beneficiaries; has "no attorney-client relationship with the beneficiaries of the estate other than the executor;" has no "derivative duty" to the other beneficiary by virtue of the client's fiduciary duty (as executor) to the other beneficiary, although the lawyer must "be alert to indications that [the other beneficiary] does not understand the attorney's role;" may not advise or represent the executor in actions that breach the executor's fiduciary duty; does "not take on the executor's duties to the beneficiaries simply by performing the executor's administrative tasks;" may not charge for any services rendered to the client in the client's capacity as a beneficiary.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn