Orange County Trustee & Fiduciary Responsibilities Attorney
One of the most important legal elements of estate administration is the fiduciary responsibility of the trustee, executor, or personal representative responsible for handling the deceased’s estate. Every estate plan will be unique and involve different components, and it is crucial for those responsible for estate administration to discharge their duties in good faith. When a trustee or executor fails to uphold their fiduciary duty, the estate’s beneficiaries can raise disputes that lead to lengthy litigation.
Legal Counsel for Orange County Trustee and Fiduciary Responsibilities
Trustees and other fiduciaries can rely on the team at Flanigan Law Group to guide them through probate administration, trust administration, and other estate administration proceedings with confidence. This additional layer of legal review can help a trustee or executor ensure they meet all their fiduciary responsibilities while minimizing the chance of disputes arising. An Orange County trustee and fiduciary responsibilities attorney is a tremendous asset for anyone charged with estate administration.
What Is a Fiduciary Duty?
Fiduciary duty is one of the most significant legal responsibilities any person can hold. This duty often applies to parent-child, spouse-spouse, and other close relationships, indicating that one party has a legal responsibility to protect the best interests of another. When it comes to estate litigation, an individual with a fiduciary duty regarding a loved one’s estate has the legal responsibility of handling the estate in accordance with the estate owner’s wishes.
Fiduciary duty of any kind must be taken seriously. The individual holding the fiduciary duty has a legal responsibility to meet all their obligations using the utmost care and attention to detail. When an individual fails to uphold a fiduciary duty, they potentially face severe consequences, up to and including civil liability for damages and criminal prosecution. The latter typically only applies to situations in which a fiduciary knowingly and intentionally violates their fiduciary duty.
What Are a Trustee’s or Executor’s Fiduciary Duties?
An individual charged with handling a trust is a trustee. An individual named by an estate owner to manage estate administration on their behalf after their death is an executor. These terms are often used interchangeably in estate administration to designate the individual acting as the personal representative of the estate owner.
When a deceased held a trust and named a trustee to manage trust administration on their behalf, that trustee has several critical legal duties they must fulfill to the best of their abilities, including:
- Management of all assets contained in the trust. The trustor designates the contents of the trust, and the trustee assumes the responsibility of managing these contents and distributing them to the trustor’s beneficiaries upon the trustor’s death. Management of trust assets includes identifying and evaluating all claimed property, assets, and debts, managing payments to and from accounts held by the trust, and handling all aspects of trust administration.
- Paying debts owed by the estate. The trustee has the authority to address the trustor’s creditors using the contents of the trust. Once all debts are satisfied, the remaining assets in the trust are available for distribution to the trustor’s designated beneficiaries.
- Distribution to beneficiaries. The trustee must distribute assets in the trust according to the trustor’s wishes. They must carefully track all payments made from the trust. Inheritance disputes can easily arise when a trustee or executor fails to maintain complete detailed records of estate administration transactions.
- Addressing inheritance disputes. Beneficiaries can have disputes over various aspects of the trust. When these disputes arise, the trustee must work toward resolving them in good faith. This may require mediation or other alternative dispute resolution to help the parties involved in a lengthy court battle.
These are just a few examples of the trustee’s responsibilities in the trust administration process. An executor may be responsible for fulfilling trustee duties and additional duties depending on the elements of the estate they have been charged with handling. Reliable legal counsel from an Orange County trustee and fiduciary responsibilities attorney can be a tremendous asset for any estate representative.
Why Would I Need an Orange County Trustee and Fiduciary Responsibilities Lawyer?
Assuming the role of a trustee or executor is a tremendous responsibility. Many people may feel unqualified for these positions but feel morally compelled to fulfill them out of a sense of family obligation. However, when a trustee or executor is unsure how to proceed with their responsibilities, an Orange County trustee and fiduciary responsibilities lawyer can be the ideal resource for professional assistance.
An experienced Orange County trustee and fiduciary responsibilities lawyer can help their client meet all their fiduciary duties their role entails. This includes accurately identifying and valuing assets contained in an estate, contacting beneficiaries, and proceedings with estate administration directly. The trustee or executor will also be responsible for addressing ongoing estate expenses, tracking income, and handling the payment of estate-owned debts.
When disputes arise, legal counsel becomes even more valuable. An Orange County trustee and fiduciary responsibilities attorney can help a trustee or executor address these duties appropriately, minimizing the time and expense required from those involved and helping the beneficiaries reach a mutually agreeable resolution to estate administration.
What to Expect From Your Legal Team
It’s natural to feel daunted by your fiduciary duties as a trustee or executor. While some people may feel tempted to refuse the responsibility, others will need assistance to accomplish their given tasks effectively. Your Orange County trustee and fiduciary responsibilities attorney can help you confidently approach this difficult situation.
When you choose the Flanigan Law Group as your Orange County trustee and fiduciary responsibilities lawyers, we will carefully review the details of the estate you are handling and help you determine the best path forward. In addition, when you encounter unexpected challenges, we will assist you in discerning the best options for resolving them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Contact Our Trust Litigation and Fiduciary Duty Claims Attorneys Today
Our team is ready to provide the guidance you need during complex estate administration. If you are ready to discuss legal options with an experienced Orange County trustee and fiduciary responsibilities attorney, contact the Flanigan Law Group to schedule your consultation with our team.