March 28, 1995
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
(Judge Serve Co-trustee
(Estate of Wife's Grandmother
In re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your Inquiry Dated February 14, 1995
You inquire whether or not you can serve as a co-trustee of the estate of your wife's recently deceased grandmother.
Canon 5E does allow judges to serve as a trustee "for the estate, trust or person of a member of the judge's family ... if such service will not interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties."
The Definition portion of the Code, defines "member of the judge's
family" as a "spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent or
other relative or person with whom the judge maintains a close familial
Since your wife's grandmother falls within that definition, the Committee unanimously agrees that you can serve as a co-trusteee and be paid a reasonable fee. See Committee Opinion 90-11.
The Committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting
the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances
confronting or affecting a judge or
judicial candidate. Its opinions are advisory to the inquiring party, to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and to the judiciary at large. Conduct that is consistent with an advisory opinion issued by the Committee may be evidence of good faith on the part of the judges, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions by the Committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges, 327 So.2d 5 (Fla. 1976).
Very truly yours,
Steve Rushing, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct
CC: All Committee Members
Office of the State Courts Administrator
(Name of judge deleted from this copy)
Participating Members: Judges Doughtie, Farina, Green, Kahn, Patterson, Rushing, and Silverman