Supreme Court to Consider Attorney-Client Privilege for Trustee

The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal from an order directing a trustee to provide the beneficiaries with unredacted copies of lawyer fee invoices that the trustee paid from trust funds. Both the Orphans’ Court and the Superior Court had denied that the invoices were protected, or that the order was appealable.

In its order allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court stated that the issue presented by the appellant trustee was:

Do the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrines protect communications between a trustee and counsel from discovery by beneficiaries when the communications arose in the context of adversarial proceedings between the trustees and beneficiaries?

In re: Estate of William K. McAleer, Deceased, 345 WAL 2018 (2/4/2019), now 6 WAP 2019.

See “Discovery of Attorney Invoices not Appealable” for a summary of the Superior Court decision and a link to the full text of the decision.

The Supreme Court’s action in allowing the appeal seems peculiar, because it is limited to a single issue that the Superior Court had held was not appealable. How can the Supreme Court consider the merits of the appeal without addressing the issue of whether the issue is appealable?

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