We work with individuals and families to administer the estates of deceased family members. The process ordinarily begins with either the probate of the will, if a will has been executed, or if not, the filing of a petition for appointment of an administrator. Our relationship with the client, however, begins earlier. We work with the client to first identify if a court proceeding for probate is required and what alternatives are available to the client. This analysis saves time and expense for the client and, in the event that a court proceeding is necessary, lays the ground work for a smoother process.
Anticipating tax issues, difficulties in liquidating assets and anticipating business transition issues that might become significant legal and tax costs in the future is crucial to allow the client to carry out the wishes of the family member while avoiding intra-family disputes and unnecessary costs and taxes.
We work with the fiduciary of the estate to create and fund any trusts that are required to be continued under the terms of the will. Specifically, we will secure the required tax identification numbers, advise as to the nature of the accounts to be created and provide guidance on funding of the trusts. In addition, we assist the fiduciary with communicating the nature and extent of the estate and subsequent trusts, if any, to the ultimate beneficiaries of the estate.
We represent individuals, executors and trustees (individuals or financial institutions) in the administration process. We offer counseling to fiduciaries on the management of assets during administration, distribution requirements and tax planning. We work in conjunction with the client’s accountants, brokers, financial planners and advisors. We prepare all relevant state and federal estate-tax forms, draft estate and trust accountings on behalf of the fiduciaries and file the required petitions and proceedings in Surrogate’s and other courts to secure the close of the estate and the discharge of the fiduciary from future liability.