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If I Am a Fiduciary, Do I Need a Lawyer?

Posted on in Estate Planning and Probate

San Antonio fiduciary representation lawyerExecutors, estate administrators, trustees, and some powers of attorney are all considered fiduciaries in the realm of estate planning. Being a fiduciary is an enormous responsibility. Fiduciaries are required to act strictly in the interest of the individual, or the beneficiaries of the trust or estate they represent without considering their own personal interests. They are required to avoid any potential conflicts of interest, and are not to exploit their position for personal gain in any way. Unless you are a professional fiduciary, you can easily find yourself in over your head. An attorney who is experienced at aiding fiduciaries can help you avoid potential problems, or maybe help resolve existing problems. 

When Should a Fiduciary Consider Finding an Attorney?

If you are simply serving as personal representative for a close relative’s small estate - and the rest of the family is getting along - you may be able to complete your duties on your own, without a lawyer’s help. For more complex or high-conflict situations, it may be in your best interest to seek legal assistance. You may want to get in touch with an attorney in these situations: 

  • Contested estate - If you are an estate representative (such as an executor) and you have a feeling that a contest is imminent, you may want to be represented by your own attorney. Estate contests can be legally complex affairs requiring litigation. A lawyer can also take steps to protect you against any accusation of wrongdoing. 
  • Trust management - Managing a trust can be quite challenging. Especially if you intend to begin investing funds contained in the trust on behalf of the beneficiaries, you will need to tread carefully. A few easy-to-make mistakes could deplete funds, introduce tax liabilities, or interfere with asset-protection features. Consulting an attorney first can protect both the trust and you. 
  • Power of attorney conflicts - If you are serving as the agent for a living principal in a high-conflict situation, an attorney can help you avoid missteps that could lead to litigation. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest—for example, if you are the financial power of attorney for a close relative whose estate you would likely benefit from—could cause problems. 
  • Tax and accounting obligations - Figuring out how to handle an estate or trust’s taxes is not easy. You may also be legally required to keep a detailed accounting of all a trust or estate’s assets, expenses, and distributions. You would be far from the first person if you find yourself a bit in over your head. An estate planning attorney can take some of this burden off you and help ensure compliance. 

The benefits of being represented by a lawyer as a fiduciary are numerous. Working with an attorney is one of the best ways fiduciaries can protect themselves. 

Call a Kendall County Lawyer for Assisting Fiduciaries

If you are a fiduciary and would like some legal help or guidance, contact Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law. Our experienced Boerne attorneys for assisting fiduciaries can aid with any concerns you may have about your duties. Call 210-535-0870 for a free consultation. 



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