In Florida, when creating a will, a personal representative will be named to manage or settle an estate. In some states, this role is called an executor. When creating a trust, a trustee is named to manage the trust. Both a personal representative (or executor) and a trustee are considered a fiduciary–a person who maintains a relationship of trust with one or more parties. A fiduciary has many responsibilities, including a legal obligation to act in a trustworthy and honest manner on behalf of, and in the best interest of, the party or parties represented, setting aside any personal motivations. Fiduciaries can include family members, attorneys, professional advisors, bankers, investment managers, guardians, or anyone who undertakes to assist someone who places complete confidence and trust in that person or company.
Our fiduciary services team supports both clients serving as fiduciaries and firm attorneys serving in the role of fiduciary on behalf of clients. We work with fiduciaries to ensure they understand and fulfill the obligations of the role. These services include legal, tax and accounting, and estate and trust administration.
Our legal services in this area include reforming trusts, advising fiduciaries as to ongoing responsibilities during administration, preparing trust administration documents, preparing plans of distribution and corresponding release documents, and preparing and sending notice letters (Crummey) for certain trusts.
Our tax and accounting services include preparing, filing, and reviewing estate, gift, and certain fiduciary income tax returns; analyzing generation-skipping transfer-tax status of trusts; and preparing periodic and final accountings for estates and trusts.
Our fiduciary administration services include taking custody of certain assets, arranging for security and insurance of assets, arranging for sale or other disposition of assets, overseeing the selection of investment managers and placement of financial assets, and assisting with referrals to accounting firms for ongoing tax compliance needs.