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  • Writer's pictureThe Gadfly

In the intricate world of estate planning, there's a practice that's often glossed over but deserves our undivided attention. As a firm deeply rooted in integrity and transparency, we at Gadfly feel compelled to shed light on an issue that's subtly reshaping the lawyer-client relationship: lawyers appointing themselves as trustees for client trusts.


This practice might initially seem like a vote of confidence, a lawyer's way of saying, "I've got your back." However, upon closer examination, we find an undercurrent of self-interest that raises some serious ethical questions.


Our aim here is not to point fingers but to ignite a thoughtful discussion on the true motivations behind these appointments. Is it about safeguarding the client's assets or securing a steady income for the lawyer? The line between fiduciary duty and financial self-interest seems to blur.


At Gadfly, we believe in calling out practices that might compromise the purity of the client-lawyer relationship. When a lawyer doubles as a trustee, can they truly prioritize the client's needs over their financial interests? It's a question that begs reflection, especially considering the long-term engagement and revenue generation tied to trust management.


Let's consider the potential conflicts of interest. How does this dual role affect decision-making? Are choices made in the best interest of the client, or are they swayed by what's more profitable for the trustee-lawyer?


We're not suggesting that this practice is inherently flawed. However, it's crucial to explore alternatives like appointing independent trustees or utilizing trust companies. These options might offer a more impartial approach, though they come with their own sets of pros and cons.


Our goal with this blog post is to stir the waters within the legal community and urge clients to be more discerning. We advocate for a world where practices like these are scrutinized for transparency and where the best interest of the client is not just a slogan but a genuine commitment.


Considering all of this, Gadfly stands for an honest evaluation of such practices. We encourage a dialogue that focuses on ethics and client welfare. It's time to rethink how these roles are assigned and ensure that fiduciary duties aren't overshadowed by personal gain.


 


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