It can be challenging to decide when to retain the assistance of a lawyer when navigating estate planning issues. The following are some important details about the fiduciary litigation process. If you have questions about fiduciaries or estate planning, reach out to an experienced attorney today. 

The Role of Fiduciaries

A fiduciary refers to an individual or entity in whom another person places trust to act in their best interest. A fiduciary is a person tasked with caring for the financial assets of another person. Some of the primary types of fiduciary relationships include relationships created by statutes like estate administration, relationships that are formed as the result of contracts, and relationships arising from underlying circumstances between parties, and the nature of the transaction at issue. 

Some of the most common types of fiduciaries include trustees, personal representatives, and court-appointed guardians. Fiduciaries can owe different duties based on the nature of the fiduciary relationship including a duty of good faith, a duty of impartiality, a duty of loyalty, and a duty to maintain adequate records.

Common Fiduciary Roles in Estate Planning

Some of the most common types of fiduciary roles in estate planning include:

  • Agents. An agent under a durable general power of attorney raises different trust issues. An agent’s authority vests immediately and can be subject to review if challenged in court. An agent is authorized to act for someone else. 
  • Executors. An executor is a person in charge of probating a will as well as locating assets, paying off debts, and filing tax returns. 
  • Trustees. A trustee is chosen by an individual who creates a trust to both hold and invest assets. Through distributions from a trust and periodic accountancy, the income and beneficiaries of a trust remain updated about its status.

How a Lawyer Can Help Navigate Fiduciary Litigation

People benefit from the assistance of lawyers in fiduciary litigation for several reasons, which include the following:

  • Fiduciary litigation involves navigating various laws. Many clients think that it is sufficient to search for details online without the help of an attorney, but performing research in such a way often leaves much lacking. Experienced lawyers are familiar with the intricacies of the law ranging from deadlines to evidentiary nuances that can present significant challenges for novices.
  • Lawyers are familiar with court forms and procedures. For example, probate courts require countless formers in cases involving estates, trusts, and other estate planning issues. It can be tempting to overlook small details of forms, which can lead to courts rejecting the paperwork.
  • Lawyers are acquainted with court workers and judges. As a result of the pandemic and its aftermath, probate courts are often backlogged, and being acquainted with court workers can help quickly navigate issues with your case.
  • Novices are often overwhelmed with the details of a case, but lawyers often can provide an outside perspective. This detached perspective can be invaluable because fiduciary cases are often filled with countless difficult emotions including anger, jealousy, and sadness.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

If you or a loved one has questions about navigating the estate planning process, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.