Document Type



In the course of estate and trust administration, an attorney or a single law firm may be in the position of representing both the trustee and beneficiaries of a particular trust. In any such situation the attorney represents adverse parties since the beneficiaries may wish to enforce the trust provisions against the trustee. Nevertheless, the attorney might feel impelled to represent such adverse parties, especially where they are amicable, where the attorney has personal familiarity with the parties and the property, or where the parties wish to avoid the added expense of obtaining independent counsel. Potter v. Moran, however, indicates that such dual representation may deprive accountings and other proceedings between a trustee and beneficiaries of res judicata effect. Therefore, in deciding whether to obtain independent counsel, an attorney and his clients should consider both the practical advantages and the hazards of even the most well-intentioned dual representation.