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Can an AXA financial advisor be a recipient of a clients estate as well as the executor of that estate in Georgia?

Greenville, GA |

My sister made her financial advisor the executor of her estate as well as making the advisor trustee over 3 scholarships for nieces and nephews AND left several items of great value to the advisor making the advisor a recipient of the estate beyond the fees allowed for executing the will Is this legal? Wouldn't this be a conflict of interest for the advisor at the very least extremely unethical?

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

It would be legal from the point of view of the state of Georgia, as long as it's really in line with your sister's wishes. However, as already pointed out by the first two respondents, this situation raises a lot of red flags, since it's rather unusual. As also pointed out already, most of the financial advisors I deal with would tell you that they are not allowed by their companies to serve in these roles or accept benefits from clients' estate plans, unless your sister was also the advisor's close relative (which I assume was not the case). Your sister's heirs should consult attorneys as soon as possible. It may be possible to challenge the Will, or to have another Executor appointed instead, among other steps.

This answer is not intended to provide you with specific legal advice regarding your situation, or to create any attorney-client relationship. The intent is only to provide general information. You should be aware that you cannot rely on this answer to provide you with any protection against tax penalties. You should always consult your own attorney in order to obtain legal advice.

Posted

A person can generally leave their estate to whoever they wish to leave it to. This type of arrangement does have some red flags, though. If there is some reason to think that your sister is being taken advantage of, then you can report this to adult protective services. Many financial service companies have rules that prevent employees from accepting inheritances or gifts from clients.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

Posted

I am surprised that AXA let the financial advisor do this. If anything, you should confirm with AXA in writing that the financial advisor has received the clearance to do this from compliance. You may need an attorney to draft and send the letter since the firm will likely cite privacy issues in providing you further information.

The foregoing is not legal advice nor is it in any manner whatsoever meant to create or impute an attorney/client relationship.

Posted

Most financial companies do have rules prohibiting financial advisers to also act as executors or trustees and accepting bequests. Since your sister discussed her estate plan with you, I assume you are on good terms. One thing your sister could do is have a family member serve as co-executor or cotrustee with an independent Trustee.

Posted

As long as the wishes of the testator is followed, there is no conflict. The testator may give to whomever the testator chooses, including but not limited to the non related person they pick as the executor.

Darrell B. Reynolds,
Attorney and Counselor at Law
2385 Lawrenceville Highway, Ste D
Decatur, Ga. 30033
404-636-6616

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