The use of Trusts is an ever increasing tool employed to accomplish a wide range of estate planning objectives, including probate avoidance, tax planning, and orderly wealth succession. This increased use has come with increased complexity. Whether you want to create a Trust, are serving as trustee or profession fiduciary, or have a beneficial interest in a Trust, our attorney services will help you navigate the often complex world of Trust creation, administration, and litigation.
As part of our comprehensive estate planning approach, we incorporate the use of Trusts whenever it is useful in accomplishing the client’s objectives. Whether it is an inter vivos or testamentary, a revocable or irrevocable, martial, family pot, QTIP, GST, or charitable trust, we can help you to create a Trust that works for your specific needs and objectives through our comprehensive estate planning process.
Once a Trust has been created and funded, it must be property administered or managed. The administration of a Trust is much like running a small business. A Trust is its own legal entity and usually requires its own record keeping, accounting, and tax preparation. It is important to title all assets belonging to the Trust in the name of the Trust as well as establish all bank, brokerage, and other financial accounts in the Trust’s name.
Above all, communication may be the most important aspect of proper Trust administration. Disputes often arise when a trustee has failed to communicate clear and reliable information to the interested persons on a constant basis. Proper record keeping and accounting are, in turn, essential aspects of this communication.
Most aspects of proper Trust administration may seem rather tedious and mundane but is nevertheless extremely important in protecting the trustee from potential liability, avoiding expensive legal disputes, as well as achieving the objectives of the Trust. We can certainly assist you in this regard. No matter the type of Trust involved, we can tailor our services to provide the support necessary to protect you and your interests. Whether you are a trustee in charge of a Trust or a beneficiary, we can ensure that the Trust is being properly administered, facilitate communication between the interested parties, minimize any potential legal liability, and reduce the risk of future disputes.
Unfortunately, there are times when litigation of an estate or trust matter is necessary to resolve a dispute. However, due to its high cost and complexity, we believe that litigation should be commenced only as a last resort and utilized as a limited tool to achieve a specific objective or obtain a certain outcome that cannot be achieved otherwise.
In the context of a Trust matter, litigated disputes often arise due to miscommunication between the trustee and the beneficiaries, and often include: accounting irregularities, property management, division and distribution disagreements, and failures to abide by the terms of the Trust. In representing trustees, we can greatly reduce the potential of costly litigation by assisting and ensuring that the trustee is complying with the terms of the Trust, providing timely and accurate accounting, and fostering consistent communication between the trustee and the beneficiaries. In doing so, a trustee can be assured that their interests are protected should a matter ever become litigated.
In representing Trust beneficiaries, we work to protect their beneficial interests and ensure that the terms of the Trust are being satisfied by the trustee. By carefully examining all of the information pertaining to the Trust and by knowing what information to examine, we can correct any perceived irregularities, ensure that the trustee is properly administering the Trust, and, if necessary, initiate legal proceedings to stop any mismanagement or wrong-doing, thereby effectively protecting the beneficiary’s interests.
Whether you are a trustee or a beneficiary, we can help you to avoid costly litigation. However, if litigation becomes necessary, we will vigorously and effectively prosecute your claim or mount your defense in order to protect both you and the intentions or the Trust.
Please call us today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss how we can assist you with all of your Trust related matters.