Navigating & Mitigating Ethical Conflicts in Estate Administration & Planning

This presentation given by Trustate founder and CEO Leah Del Percio, will go over the different types of intrafamilial conflicts that estate attorneys typically face, and how they can employ strategies to mitigate them. Ms. Del Percio covers many important topics, including understanding how conflicts are presented, how to spot conflicts, and how to handle them in an ethical manner.

Learning Objectives:

    1. Identify what conflicts might present themselves in the context of an attorney's trusts & estates practice.
    2. Explore the various types of conflicts and how they arise in the estate law context, and the implications and potential consequences for them.
    3. Determine how to handle conflicts, including deciding whether or not they are waivable, as well as the mechanics of a conflict waiver in common scenarios for estate lawyers.


  • What Are Conflicts of Interest and Why Are We Talking About This?
    • 11% of attorney misconduct legal malpractice claims relate to estates, trusts, and probate
    • Conflicts - what are they?
    • Important note: professional rules vary across jurisdictions
    • Types of conflicts

  • Typical Conflicts That Arise in Representation
    • Concurrent conflicts
    • Successive conflicts
    • Direct conflicts
    • Indirect conflicts
    • Actual conflicts
    • Imputed conflicts
    • Personal conflicts
    • Common conflict scenarios in estate administration
    • Representing spouses - confidences imparted by one joint client

  • Reasons Conflicts Arise
    • New Client
      • Estate lawyers often represent families
      • Conflicts of interest can prohibit representation of multiple family members
    • Divulging facts to an expert (so they can’t represent the other side)
    • New matter with an existing client
    • New issue in a litigation
    • New parties enter litigation mid-stream (impleader, joinder)
    • New attorney joins a firm
    • Relationships with adversary
    • Lawyer becomes witness
    • Lawyer has adverse financial interest
    • Waivable and non-waivable conflicts

  • The Impact of Conflicts
    • Discipline
    • Disqualification
    • Rule 11 sanctions
    • Malpractice liability
    • What the Rules of Professional Conduct say
      • Curret clients
      • Former clients
      • Law firm vs. attorney

  • How to Handle Conflicts
    • Try to avoid potential conflicts
    • If a conflict arises, disclose all potential conflicts to clients and determine whether the conflict is waivable
    • How to proceed with waivable conflicts

  • Hypothetical Scenario: Attorney as Fiduciary
    • A walk through a common scenario where a lawyer is a trustee or executor
    • Duties to deceased clients

  • Questions & Answers
Topics covered include: Ethics
Duration of this webinar: 60 minutes
Originally broadcast: November 03, 2023 12:00 PM PT
Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Credits

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California CLE

Status: Approved

Credits: 1.0 Legal Ethics

Earn Credit Until: November 02, 2025

South Carolina CLE

Status: Approved

Credits: 1.0 Legal Ethics/Professional Responsibility

Difficulty: All Levels

Earn Credit Until: December 31, 2024

North Carolina CLE

Status: Approved

Credits: 1.0 Ethics

Earn Credit Until: February 28, 2025

Texas CLE

Status: Approved

Credits: 1.0 Legal Ethics/Professional Responsibility

Earn Credit Until: January 31, 2025

This presentation is approved for one hour of Legal Ethics CLE credit in California, one hour of Legal Ethics/Professional Responsibility CLE credit in South Carolina (all levels), and one hour of Ethics CLE credit in North Carolina. This course has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of Texas Committee on MCLE in the amount of 1.0 credit hours, of which 1.0 credit hours will apply to Legal Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit.

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Leah Del Percio
Leah Del Percio CEO of Trustate
Leah Del Percio is the President, CEO, and co-founder of Trustate, one of the world’s fastest-growing estate administration platforms. Since Trustate’s founding in 2020, Ms. Del Percio has been involved in all aspects of the firm's development and growth. Trustate provides B2B tools to various stakeholders throughout the estate administration process including law firms, wealth managers, banks, and accountants, amongst others. Today, the firm is an industry leader in the LegalTech space and is regularly featured as one of the top startups to watch. Read More ›
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