TRUST & ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
Trusts and estates are two distinct but similar legal arrangements requiring administration. Trusts are governed by agreement, and estates are governed either by a will or by the laws of intestacy. Both are administered by a fiduciary. The trustee is the fiduciary responsible for administering the trust in accordance with the terms of the trust agreement. The executor is the fiduciary responsible for administering the estate in accordance with state law and the terms of the will.
Trustees and executors are entitled to legal representation to better understand and fulfill their responsibilities. For example, trustees and executors have a legal responsibility to account for their actions and to treat all beneficiaries fairly.
Fiduciaries that breach their duty can be held personally liable to the beneficiaries for damages.
At the Law Office of Robert Aufseeser, we represent executors and trustees, and provide step-by-step guidance to enable both to properly execute the duties of their office. Proper administration now can often avoid costly mistakes when the time comes to settle either the trust or estate.
OUR ADMINISTRATION SERVICES INCLUDE
- Probate of a Will
- Trust Administration
- Trust Modification & Decanting
- Trust Termination
- Fiduciary Accountings
- Court Actions for Advice & Direction
- Preparation of Estate and Inheritance Tax Returns
- Marshalling Estate & Trust Assets
- Creditor Issues
- Release & Refunding Bonds
- Formal & Informal Settlements
- Charitable Beneficiaries
WHY YOU NEED A LAWYER
When you serve as a fiduciary you become responsible for managing property that does not belong to you. The laws regarding fiduciaries are complex and nuanced, and there are many issues that must be considered before you take any particular action. For example, are you obligated to amend tax returns? Should you? What’s the best way to deal with creditors? When can you distribute assets? What are the risks associated with distributing assets? What do you do if the beneficiary is a charitable organization? Without the careful guidance of a lawyer you may make mistakes and those mistakes may undermine everything you have sought to accomplish. Ultimately, you may have to answer to disgruntled beneficiaries or taxing authorities, and you may expose yourself to personal liability.
HOW MUCH DOES ADMINISTRATION COST?
Costs of administering an estate or trust vary greatly depending on numerous factors. These factors include the size of the estate, the number of beneficiaries, the number of fiduciaries, the type of assets, investment structures, the structure of the will or trust, etc.
We are happy to provide a free consultation to better understand the type of estate or trust being administered before creating a budget and a scope of work to meet your needs.
The laws regarding fiduciaries are constantly evolving. Contact us for up-to-date advice on how best to meet your legal obligations.