Estate and Trust Administration

Estate Administration

Estate Administration is an essential part of our practice at Frankel Sims Law. Administration of a decedent's estate offers many opportunities for income and estate tax savings through careful post-mortem planning. Valuation issues are often critical in larger estates, and our attorneys have developed strong working relationships with professionals who value many different types of property. We also maintain relationships with accountants who have significant experience in estate income tax matters.

We represent personal representatives in settling estates, including preparing and filing probate petitions and other documents in the appropriate court, marshaling estate assets, drafting an inventory of estate assets, settling claims, reviewing a decedent’s final income tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns, preparing estate and inheritance tax returns, participating in any audit of such returns, drafting estate accountings, interpreting wills, allocating assets to marital dispositions and distributing assets to beneficiaries.

Trust Administration

We provide advice to trustees with regard to the performance of their fiduciary duties, as well as their investment, tax and accounting responsibilities. We assist with the preparation of fiduciary income tax returns and, in the case of revocable living trusts, the preparation of estate and inheritance tax returns upon the death of the Grantor. As with estates, we participate in any audit of such returns. We represent trustees with respect to the interpretation of trust provisions and, upon termination of the trust, the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.

We advise on all aspects of the Trust Administration process, including working with investment advisors to manage assets; understanding complex family situations, assets and specialized tax-sensitive trusts; working with co-trustees and beneficiaries by providing tax and financial advice and planning distributions; and communicating and reviewing the purposes of the trust with beneficiaries.

The following descriptions are representative of our work in Estate and Trust Administration:

  • Probating wills and assisting personal representatives (executors) and trustees in carrying out their fiduciary duties related to the administration and settlement of estates and trusts
  • Representing estates and trusts and their beneficiaries in negotiation and litigation of family conflicts and disputes with third parties
  • Coordinating post-mortem planning, including the use of disclaimers to reduce estate tax liability or shift assets within the family without additional tax cost