CA Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Legal Assistance for Fiduciaries

How can an estate planning attorney help me to fulfill my fiduciary duties?

A fiduciary is defined as any person who acts in a representative capacity, with legal authority, on behalf of someone else or a decedent’s estate.  There are several different types of fiduciaries, depending on the context, including a trustee and executor.  Fiduciaries play a vital role in estate planning and those who have been selected as a fiduciary will need to meet stringent legal standards or they could face legal repercussions.  If you have been named as a fiduciary, you should consult with a California estate planning attorney for assistance in meeting your important obligations.  

Being Selected as a Fiduciary

You could become a fiduciary after being named one by a relative, or you could be appointed as a fiduciary by a California court.  Before agreeing to be a fiduciary, it is critical that you understand what this role involves.  All fiduciaries have a legal duty to act in the best interest of the person or estate they are representing.  Your role as a fiduciary will vary, depending on what type of fiduciary position you are fulfilling.  

Role of a Trustee

A trustee is a person selected to manage and invest trust assets, usually for the benefit of another person or an estate.  Trustees have a difficult task. They must manage the funds of the trust in a responsible manner.  Beneficiaries have the power to remove a trustee if they do not act in the best interests of the estate.  Trustees should consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer and financial advisor to ensure they conform to trustee duties.

Role of an Executor

You could be named as an executor for your loved one’s estate within his or her will.  As an executor, you will be responsible for probating the will, gathering and distributing assets, paying off debts, filing tax returns, and eventually distributing assets.  The executor will be held legally accountable for the efficient completion of the probate process.  As such, executors should contact an estate planning attorney for help fulfilling this critical role.  

 


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