Helping Executors And Fiduciaries To Fulfill Their Duties
Being an executor or administrator of an estate or a trustee is a serious responsibility. You are required to administer estates and trusts accurately and in good faith in accordance with the terms of the documents and New York law. If you need legal assistance in performing these duties, we can help.
At Daniels Norelli Cecere & Tavel P.C., our attorneys have extensive experience with all types of probate and estate administration. You can come to our law offices for help with the administration of estates of all sizes. While working with an attorney is not required, it is often a good idea, especially if you have never administered an estate or the estate’s assets are complex. Under some circumstances, attorneys’ fees are paid out of the estate, eliminating concerns about the costs of hiring a lawyer. Please speak with us to learn how we may assist you.
What Are Your Fiduciary Duties?
A fiduciary is an individual who has a duty to act for another party’s benefit. In probate and estate administration, a fiduciary is trusted with the management of the estate and assets of another. If you are an executor or administrator of an estate or trustee of a trust, you have a fiduciary duty to the decedent and to the estate or trust’s beneficiaries.
According to the New York Surrogate’s Court, a fiduciary “is responsible for the prompt, efficient and impartial administration of the decedent’s estate.” Fiduciaries must also “comply with strict requirements for notifying persons who have a legal interest in the estate of any matters which may affect those interests.”
The fiduciary is responsible for filing all documents for the administration of the estate in Surrogate’s Court. Fiduciaries must open the estate, inventory the assets, distribute assets, file state and federal income tax returns and/or an estate tax return, collect and manage the assets, keep a recording of the assets and close the estate.
Many executors and administrators choose to work with a lawyer during the administration process. We often recommend that fiduciaries work with a lawyer, especially for larger or complex estates. If you make a mistake or are negligent in your duties, you can be held responsible and removed as the fiduciary and/or surcharged for losses incurred by the estate.