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Five Obligations of a Fiduciary

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As a fiduciary, you’ve been appointed to act on behalf of a deceased or incapacitated person’s estate, and several responsibilities come with this position. It’s essential to understand the obligations of the fiduciary to avoid personal, legal liabilities and to carry out these duties completely. If you’re confused about these requirements or want to reduce stress and prevent errors,  consider a free lawyer consultation NYC to learn how an estate law attorney can help you.

Financial Responsibilities

The fiduciary handles all financial matters involving the estate, which includes settling all unpaid bills at the time of death and the estate’s expenses. You also need to file the deceased’s final income tax returns for federal, state, and local taxes, as well as property taxes. Make sure to keep strict records of all money coming into and out of the estate. The court will carefully examine all accounting and hold fiduciaries responsible for any missing funds or discretions.

Another responsibility is all assets, monetary, insurance policies, and valuables. You must keep track of these until they are distributed to the estate’s beneficiaries. If the assets are exceedingly valuable, an appraisal may be recommended to provide a valuation for court records.

Guardianship of Minor Children

If the deceased has minor children at the time of their death, the fiduciary is responsible for their care and fulfilling the instructions regarding guardianship in the will.

Administer of Health Care Proxy

If they aren’t deceased but are incapacitated and can’t communicate or make their own decisions, as the fiduciary, you must make sure that the medical staff follows the instructions in the person’s health care proxy. For example, if the proxy has a “do not resuscitate order,” this wish must be followed above all others involved party’s requests (such as family members.)

Locating, Funding, and Distributing the Will’s Bequests

Another obligation is distributing the assets and personal items designated to beneficiaries in the will. This step can be more complicated than it sounds. Some states may require permission from the probate court to distribute articles, and any errors in the accounting can lead to harsh penalties for the fiduciary.

Trust Administration

During the process of finalizing debts and assets, the estate can earn income and interest. When you are managing the estate, you’re also responsible for the administration of the additional financial assets and their distribution before closing the estate.

If you’re a newly appointed fiduciary, these tasks, especially for a large estate, can seem daunting. Additionally, managing an estate of any size is time-consuming and stressful even if it’s not your first-time acting on behalf of another person. A free lawyer consultation NYC can offer stress relief by helping get you on the right track and even take care of some of your obligations to make sure everything’s correct and legal.