When death occurs, it is sometimes necessary to probate an estate or administer a trust. The duties imposed on a personal representative (executor) and trustee by statute and via common law are comprehensive and encompass dealing with a decedent’s creditors, preparing an inventory of assets, selling real estate and other assets, protecting and investing assets, and filing a variety of probate court and IRS forms. Other fiduciary duties can include post-death tax planning, beneficiary communication and education, asset distribution, and in some situations terminating or modifying undesirable trusts.
All fiduciaries, including personal representatives, executors, and trustees, have a duty to prepare accountings for review by beneficiaries and often the court. In some cases, the review of those accountings by contentious beneficiaries can lead to litigation. Properly preparing or reviewing trust accountings and timely filing properly prepared court filings can minimize or avoid the risk of disputes in many situations. Understanding the complexities of the fiduciary requirements of probate estates and trusts, and managing the expense associated with these undertakings, are key hallmarks of the service we deliver.
In some situations, beneficiaries or creditors require advice and guidance regarding their rights during a probate proceeding or a trust administration. Attention to detail in reviewing court filings and accountings that impact the rights of beneficiaries are critical to making sure that beneficiaries receive their lawful share of estates and trusts.