Trust & Estate Administration
Serving clients in Richmond, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach and Fredericksburg
Administering an estate or trust can be confusing and complicated, especially during a period when you are grieving over the loss of a loved one. The need to handle the decedent’s legal affairs – dealing with lawyers, accountants, banks, brokerage firms, creditors, courts, etc. – adds stress and anxiety. In addition to the emotional anguish, those who are charged with dealing with the decedent’s personal and financial affairs following death are often left with many more questions than answers regarding their duties and responsibilities.
Although it is an honor to be nominated to serve as a fiduciary in your family member’s or friend’s Estate Plan, the role is not “honorary,” meaning that there is real work to be done. When you serve as the Trustee of a Trust or as the Executor of a Will, you become a “fiduciary” and will be personally liable and accountable for your actions. It is therefore advisable to retain legal counsel.
Since most people nominated in trusts and wills have never served as a fiduciary before, our law firm is often retained by fiduciaries to assist them in a comprehensive manner – one where we come alongside the fiduciary and provide education, counsel, and guidance from start to finish. Some fiduciaries, perhaps because they have served as an Executor or Trustee before, desire to take a more “hands-on” approach with minimal legal assistance, often limited to getting the estate and trust administration started.
In other situations, the person nominated is dreading the workload and responsibilities of serving as the fiduciary. If this describes you, please know that you are not obligated to serve. If you desire to decline, the opportunity to serve will pass to the next person named. If all nominated persons decline to serve, a professional successor trustee, like our law firm, can be appointed.