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I have a custom object, Recoveries Placement, related to the Case object in a master-detail relationship.

I need to surface a text field from the MAX Recoveries Placement record on the Case layout. Obviously, I cannot create a roll-up for a text field nor can I create a downward formula field.

Any ideas on how I can accomplish this declaratively or will I need to forward to dev for Apex?

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You can't really do it declaratively. You could kind of do it with some complex Flows, but since Flow cannot respond to delete events, it'll never be perfect.

You can do it with Declarative Lookup Rollup Summaries, though. You'd create a rollup from Recoveries Placement to Case, with the rollup operation MAX, sorted by whichever field you prefer, and rolling up the field Id. The rollup would target a lookup field from Case->Recoveries Placement, so it would maintain that relationship to the desired Recoveries Placement record.

You'd then be able to write formula fields against that relationship.

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