[SalesForce] Account Reference returning null value causing and causing ‘Owner Cannot Be Blank’

I'm trying to write some APEX to get the Owner of an Account (Account__c) referenced by a Lead and set that Owner as the Lead Owner.

I'm running into an error where the variable contains a null value, but I'm not seeing why.

Relevant portions of code below.


trigger LeadTrigger on Lead (before insert, before update, after insert, after update) {

if (trigger.isBefore && (trigger.isInsert || trigger.isUpdate)) {

    System.debug('Starting LeadHelper.companyLeadAccountChange');
    LeadHelper.companyLeadAccountChange(trigger.new, trigger.oldMap);
    System.debug('Ending LeadHelper.companyLeadAccountChange');


public static void companyLeadAccountChange (list<Lead> company, map<Id, Lead> mapCompany) {
    If (company != null && !company.isEmpty()){
        For(Lead i : company){
            System.debug('Account: '+i.Account__c+', Account Owner (lead relation): '+i.Account__r.OwnerId+', Account Owner (account lookup): '+[SELECT Id, Name, OwnerId, Owner.Name
                                                                                                                                                 FROM Account
                                                                                                                                                 WHERE Id =:i.Account__c]);

            If(i.recordTypeId == Util.getRecordTypeId('Lead','Client') &&
               i.Account__c != NULL && 
               (trigger.isInsert || (trigger.isUpdate && 
                                     i.Account__c != mapCompany.get(i.Id).Account__c))){
                                         System.debug('Current: ' + i.OwnerId + ', New: ' + i.Account__r.OwnerId);
                                         i.OwnerId = i.Account__r.OwnerId;


Here are some of the debug lines:

USER_DEBUG|[123]|DEBUG|Account: 001M000000dFYdvIAG, Account Owner (lead relation): null, Account Owner (account lookup): (Account:{Name=Test, OwnerId=005M0000005zikzIAA, Id=001M000000dFYdvIAG})

USER_DEBUG|[132]|DEBUG|Current: 00GC0000002BekVMAS, New: null

For some reason, the lead's Account__c field is returning a value, but looking through the relationship lookup returns a null owner of that Account. You can see in the Debug that the Query returns an owner of that specific record. Can anyone identify why the account returns owner ID when queried but returns null when using the relationship reference? Should I just use the i.Account__c to instantiate an account record and get the ownerId that way?

Best Answer

Relationship fields - ones that end in __r - are not populated in triggers. They are only populated when you perform explicit relationship queries.

So yes you will need to query for the Account.OwnerId values using the Account ID values in the Lead.Account__c field. The resulting method would look something like this:

public static void companyLeadAccountChange (list<Lead> company,
        map<Id, Lead> mapCompany) {
    Set<Id> accountIds = new Set<Id>();
    Lead[] leads = new Lead[] {};
    Id clientRtId = Util.getRecordTypeId('Lead','Client');
    For(Lead l : company){
        If(l.recordTypeId == clientRtId && ...){
    If (accountIds.size() > 0) {
        Map<Id, Account> accounts = new Map<Id, Account>([
                select OwnerId
                from Account
                where Id in :accountIds
        For(Lead l : leads) {
            l.OwnerId = accounts.get(l.Account__c).OwnerId;
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