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Colorado Supreme Court Holds That A Trustee Cannot Proceed Pro Se On Behalf of A Trust

This case is captioned 2015 CO 61, Concerning the Application for Water Rights of the Town of Minturn: J. Tucker, Trustee v. Town of Minturn.

The Colorado Supreme Court held that a non-attorney trustee of a trust may not proceed pro se before the water court. The court reasoned that Tucker, a non-attorney, was acting not on his own behalf but was representing the rights of other people. Other courts have reached the same result. A trustee is a fiduciary who acts on behalf of others. He cannot act pro se for others. Instead, the trustee needs to retain a lawyer to represent the trust.

The ruling is consistent with long-standing practice and ethics rules. The trustee cannot proceed pro se because he is not licensed and may lack the training and experience to obtain the best result for his clients, the trust and its beneficiaries.

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.