Trust Officers and the Attorney Client Privilege in Florida
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.