OPINION 158
June 1957

CONFLICTS 0F INTEREST-ESTATES—An attorney who was employed by the sole beneficiary to handle probate matters of an estate whose administration has been substantially completed is not precluded by conflict of interests to represent the beneficiary in a suit to oust the executor even though the latter has paid the attorney his agreed fee for representing the estate.

Canon 6.

Question

Is it ethical for a lawyer, who was employed by a decedent's widow and sole beneficiary to handle probate matters through approval of inventory, of an estate which owed no debts except current bills (all of which have been paid) and the inventory and appraisement of which has been approved, to thereafter represent such sole beneficiary in action to oust her son as independent executor; said executor having agreed with said attorney on the amount of his attorney's fee in representing the estate and having paid such fee?

Opinion

Under Section 404 of the Probate Code, all known debts having been paid, and no further need for administration being shown from the facts stated and it appearing that there could be little left for the executor to do except possibly to determine and pay inheritance tax, if any (if same had not already been done), and to file final account, and the executor having no property rights in the estate, and the sole beneficiary having employed said attorney in the first instance, all members of the committee agree there is no conflict of interests and no reason apparent why it would not be ethical for said attorney to represent the sole beneficiary in an action to oust the independent executor. (8-0)