By: Daily Record Staff//July 16, 2013
By: Daily Record Staff//July 16, 2013//
NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
Family Member as Executor — Disqualification
Background: A Surrogate Court judge’s parent is the executor of an estate in an uncontested proceeding. The parent has retained a law firm to represent the parent. The judge asked whether he may preside over other matters in which the law firm appears, in contested or uncontested proceedings.
Opinion: The committee concluded that a judge, whose parent has retained a private law firm to represent him as an executor in an estate proceeding, is disqualified from all matters in which the law firm appears until the estate proceeding is fully concluded. For two years after the estate proceeding is fully concluded, if all parties who have appeared and not defaulted are represented by counsel, the judge may preside over matters in which the law firm appears after making full disclosure of the prior representation. If any party is appearing pro se, or if the judge does not wish to make disclosure, the judge may not preside.