Inquiry: A lawyer is guardian for an incompetent. In his capacity as guardian, he filed a special proceeding to obtain authority to sell a portion of his ward's real estate. The purchaser of this real estate at public sale applied to a lending institution for a loan of purchase money, to be secured by the real estate purchased. The purchaser and the lending institution requested the lawyer-guardian to examine the title. Assuming full disclosure of these facts, may the lawyer-guardian ethically examine the title for the purchaser and the lending institution?
Opinion: The lawyer-guardian should decline to examine the title for the purchaser and the lending institution. See DR 5-105, particularly subsection (A). See also EC 5-14 and 5-15. DR 5-105 (C) permits a lawyer to represent multiple clients if it is obvious that he can adequately represent the interest of each and if each consents to the representation after full disclosure. The ward, rather than the guardian, is the real party in interest. Of course, the incompetent ward cannot give meaningful consent.
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