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Trust Officers and the Attorney Client Privilege in Florida

Uncategorized Sep 6, 2013

When there is a lawsuit involving a will, a trust or an estate, you are dealing with a fiduciary, such as a trustee.   In Florida, we have a statute that protects communications between clients and their lawyers:  the attorney client privilege statute.  In the context of a trustee, Florida also has two statutes which address this issue: they say that the attorney client privilege protects communications between a trustee and the trustee’s attorney (in other words, the beneficiaries, whose trust funds are paying for that trustee’s attorney, can’t see or discover those communications.) The other statute requires a trustee to disclose this privilege to beneficiaries.  But what about a trust officer talking to a lawyer in trust department or bank?   Is that lawyer who is a full time employee of the bank a “lawyer” for purposes of the privilege or just an employee?  There is a recent Illinois case which speaks to trust officers and the privilege.  Advocate hard.  Litigate smart.