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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2012-04 (March 1, 2012)
Fiduciary Positions; Family;
Rules 3.8, 3.10, 3.11
Issue:May a Judicial Official serve as the executor or executrix (hereinafter, fiduciary) of the estate of a first cousin who resides outside of the State of Connecticut?
Response: Additional facts include that the Judicial Official has no reason to believe that the relative will move to Connecticut or that the relative’s estate is likely to be engaged in proceedings in any courts in Connecticut.

Rule 3.8(a) of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides in relevant part that a judge may serve as executor for a member of the judge’s family provided that such service will not interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties. The Committee unanimously determined that the first cousin qualifies as a member of the Judicial Official’s family as defined in the Code and, consistent with Rule 3.8, that the Judicial Official may serve as a fiduciary of the estate of the first cousin subject to the following conditions:

  1. Pursuant to Rule 3.8(a), acceptance of the appointment and service as a fiduciary should not interfere with the proper performance of the Judicial Official’s judicial duties;
  2. Pursuant to Rule 3.8(b), the Judicial Official should not accept the appointment if it is likely that he/she, in the fiduciary capacity, will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the Judicial Official or if the estate becomes involved in an adversary proceeding in the court on which the Judicial Official serves or one under its appellate jurisdiction;
  3. Pursuant to Rule 3.8(c), the Judicial Official is subject to the same restrictions on financial activities in his or her capacity as a fiduciary that apply to the Judicial Official in his or her personal capacity;
  4. Pursuant to Rule 3.10, the Judicial Official should not practice law on behalf of the estate; and
  5. Pursuant to Rule 3.11, the Judicial Official should refrain from financial and business dealings on behalf of the estate that tend to reflect adversely on the Judicial Official’s impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of the judicial position, or involve the Judicial Official in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court on which the Judicial Official serves.

Committee on Judicial Ethics



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