Probate, Estate and Trust Administration
The Probate, Estate and Trust Administration Group provides competent and compassionate assistance to the beneficiaries and fiduciaries of estates and trusts. Our team approach ensures that there is always someone available who is familiar with your issues to assist you at any time you may have a question or concern. We also work closely with the Estate Planning Group to ease the transition from the planning to the administration of an estate.
Any asset held in one's individual name at death will be subject to probate. Strategic planning can simplify the probate process or avoid it altogether. The administration of an estate, with or without probate, is a complex task governed by a highly specialized set of state and federal laws.
Estate and Trust Administration
Our trust administration services continue to be of use after the termination of the estate, as a continuing trust means changing duties and responsibilities. We strive to keep our clients ahead of the game by advising them not only as laws change, but we also inform clients about possible issues that might change in the future.
Moreover, we recognize that personal issues among the beneficiaries of an estate can sometimes complicate otherwise routine business matters, and therefore we counsel our fiduciary clients to avoid disputes and to prevent additional sources of friction that can arise upon the passing of a family member. Based on years of experience, we anticipate potential problems and plan proactively to avoid complications.
These trust services are not only available to trustees after the administration of an estate, but are also available to a trustee who takes over for an ailing parent or other loved one prior to their passing. In this case, our trust administration department coordinates with the Estate Planning Group to determine what types of action the trustee could take to minimize a variety of issues that could arise.
Federal Estate, Gift and Generation Skipping Taxation; Fiduciary Income Taxation
The firm prepares the federal estate tax return when the law mandates and works closely with the estate's other tax advisors to guarantee that all income and other tax issues that arise as a result of the administration are properly handled. By carefully scrutinizing how all assets are reported, we minimize the likelihood of an audit for our clients. If a tax issue does arise, we represent our clients' interest before the Internal Revenue Service.
Fiduciary Representation and Fiduciary Liability
Fiduciaries of an estate have duties to both beneficiaries and creditors of an estate. We help our fiduciary clients to determine to whom the fiduciary owes a duty, how to fulfill that duty, and how to deal with competing duties. We advise our fiduciary clients on what powers they have to accomplish the task before them, and what actions go beyond their powers and can subject them to personal liability. We set appropriate timelines, and advise you throughout the long-term relationship. Finally, we also represent beneficiaries of trusts and estates to ensure that their interests are being adequately protected.