Administration of Probate and Trust Estates

cropped-MPj039911300001.jpgFIDUCIARY OBLIGATIONS RELATED TO ESTATE PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION

Being named to a trustee, personal representative (“executor”), power of attorney or other probate agency role is both an honor and a responsibility. Someone has placed a great deal of trust in you.  You now have a great responsibility to fulfill that trust. Without proper legal guidance, many people in these roles fall into a trap for the unwary, making mistakes or failing to act in ways that create the potential for costly litigation for themselves and even personal liability.

At the Linden Law Firm,PLC, we work to ensure that issues are not overlooked. With more than 20 years of experience, our Metro Detroit probate attorneys can give you the legal guidance you need to adequately fulfill your fiduciary duties.

What Is A Fiduciary?

When an individual dies, his or her estate has to be administered, debts settled and assets distributed. Often these duties fall to a fiduciary such as an attorney, a trustee, a personal representative, an administrator or an executor. In the context of wills and trusts, a fiduciary holds a position of trust and is responsible for holding and managing property that belongs to the beneficiaries.Fiduciaries have certain legal obligations to the estate’s beneficiaries, including a duty of care and duty of loyalty. If a fiduciary violates these duties, he or she may face civil or disciplinary action. If you are a beneficiary of a trust or will, you should know what obligations a fiduciary owes you and what constitutes breaches of those duties under Michigan law. It is also helpful to understand these obligations at the estate planning phase, so you can choose a capable and trustworthy fiduciary.

What Does A Fiduciary Do?

A Fidcuary can be a trustee, personal representative, executor, guardian, conservator, attorney-in-fact or other form of agent.  Fiduciary administration of trusts, estates, guardianships and conservatorships is a sensitive area. A fiduciary is the person legally responsible for administration the trust, estate or affairs of another and has a responsibility to fulfill the intent of the principal, testator or grantor (the person who established the trust, will or the subject of the power of attorney, guardianship or conservatorship). That often involves balancing the competing interests of several beneficiaries or even protecting the assets from an adult beneficiary who wants to gain more control. Administration of these matters may be simple, or it may be as complex as running a small business or investment company.

PROBATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION COUNSEL

We provide guidance and counsel for probate, trust and other fiduciary administration issues that include:

  • Compliance:Personal representatives and trustees are bound by a fiduciary duty to always act in the principal’s best interest. In some cases, even simple mistakes can lead to conflicts and possible probate litigation. We can help you comply with relevant laws regulating probate administration and fulfill your duties as a fiduciary.
  • Debts and collections: We can help you make sure to settle all debts and tax arrearages before distributing assets to beneficiaries. Often, we can help in even reducing the debts of your loved ones and preserving assets for beneficiaries.
  • Distribution:If the deceased created an estate plan with any sort of ambiguity, we can help you sort through the issues to make sure the heirs receive assets according to the testator’s intentions.
  • Filings and accountings:There are strict guidelines and deadlines for filing and rendering accountings. We can assure that you are aware of and meet all these requirements.
  • Probate litigation:We represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries in probate litigation when wills, trusts and other probate disputes arise.