SERVICES

ADMINISTRATION

We counsel and represent trustees, agents, executors, and administrators in fulfilling their duties.

Legal papers like wills and trusts aren’t magic. They can tell what should happen, and they can designate somebody to do it, but somebody still has to follow up. Under a power of attorney, follow-up is the role of the agent; in a trust, it’s the trustee. If the document is a will, implementation is usually the duty of the executor. If somebody dies without a will, then a family member can usually nominate an administrator. An agent, executor, administrator, or trustee is called a fiduciary.

A fiduciary should be somebody with good judgement and sensitivity. He or she must be somebody absolutely trustworthy. Fortunately, however, a fiduciary does not need to know everything about technical procedures, legal requirements, and tax rules. We can help with guidance and representation so the fiduciary doesn’t get in trouble.

Sometimes fiduciaries want us to take care of everything but the most personal decisions. “Just give me the papers for me to sign,” they may say, “and don’t bother me with the details.” They may even want us to arrange to empty a vacant apartment, do the book-keeping, or make sure the dog is fed. We are delighted to do as much as you want. Other fiduciaries want to do everything themselves. If that’s you, we’ll be glad to sit back, answer questions, and let you do as much of the driving as possible. Most fiduciaries are somewhere in the middle and we’re happy with that, too.

Once in a while, it makes sense for us to act as the fiduciary ourselves. Perhaps there are personal or family conflicts or stresses which can be smoothed over by delegating administration to an independent outside party. Or there may be no friend or family member with the right qualities. It might be faster and cheaper for us to do the job than to explain what needs to be done.

We do not automatically propose ourselves as fiduciaries. But when the circumstances call for it we will accept those responsibilities. We have even served as health care agent for a few clients who have entrusted us with this most sensitive task.