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Opinion 51

A newly elected Judge of the Superior Court advises that he is serving as trustee under a number of trusts and desires to know whether he can continue to serve in that capacity until these trusts run their course. The trusts are generally described as requiring little activity on the part of the trustee. It is stated that he was appointed as trustee because of a very special relationship between himself and the deceased, and further notes that it would cause some problem to explain to the beneficiaries the termination of his services and the rather cumbersome procedure in having a successor trustee appointed.

No trusts are trusts of a member of the family of the judge.

It is the Commission’s view that under Rule 3.8(A) it is improper for the judge to serve as executor, administrator, trustee, guardian or other fiduciary, and the Canon makes no exception in relation to such services based upon the considerations recited above.

It is, however, the opinion of the Commission that a newly elected Judge of the Superior Court need not necessarily resign his office as trustee prior to taking office, but that under the provisions relating to the “Effective Date of Compliance” he should, nevertheless, as soon as reasonably possible, divest himself of his trusteeships. See in this connection our Opinion No. 3 dated December 3, 1975.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 2.2, 3.8(A). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #3, #10, #80, #95, #194.]

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