Florida Trustee & Personal Representative/Executor Services
Webster’s definition of fiduciary (pronounced “fi·du·ci·ar·y”) means “of, relating to, or involving a confidence or trust,” i.e., “held or founded in trust or confidence, such as a fiduciary relationship, or a bank’s fiduciary obligations.” When used as a noun, fiduciary means “one that holds a fiduciary relation or acts in a fiduciary capacity.”
As an experienced Florida estate planning lawyer and founder of Groover Law, I (Lea Anne Groover) often operate in the capacity of a Fiduciary as a Trustee or Personal Representative/Executor. Lawyers must make full disclosure of any potential conflicts of interest and must, at all times, act in the interests of their client. I take these responsibilities with the utmost seriousness, fully understanding the level of faith placed in me when acting in this capacity.
A fiduciary duty is actually the highest duty known to the law—an obligation of loyalty and good faith to another person or entity that does not allow any violation without corresponding exposure to personal liability. As mentioned, I take this incredibly seriously, and will be sure to disclose any potential conflict with you from the start.
Trustee as Fiduciary
Generally speaking, the fiduciary duty comes into even sharper focus when an attorney is a Professional Trustee or a Personal Representative/Executor. Unlike guardianship or estate settlements, trusts are primarily administered outside court supervision, with the Trustee being responsible for management and administration of the Trust. Inherent in the fiduciary duty concept is personal liability for a violation of fiduciary duty.
In more practical terms, a fiduciary can be the Trustee of a Trust, who has fiduciary obligations or duties under the statutes. Examples of these fiduciary obligations and responsibilities include:
- The Trustee is charged with administering the Trust in good faith.
- The Trustee must be loyal to the administration of the trust and always act in the beneficiaries’ interests.
- The Trustee must always exercise impartiality when making necessary decisions.
- The Trustee must commit to keeping beneficiaries fully informed regarding relevant information, receipts, and distributions while providing beneficiaries with regular accounting of the Trust administration.
- When administering the Trust, the Trustee must always act with reasonable caution, care, and skill.
There are specific provisions in each Trust that must be followed by the Trustee, meaning the Trustee must not only understand the legal mandates of the Trust but must also be fully aware of the fiduciary duties imposed on the Trustee (attorney, in this case). As a Professional Trustee, I offer the following fiduciary services, working with professional specialists such as CPA’s, insurance providers, investment advisers, financial planners, and more as necessary:
- Managing businesses held in trust
- Preparing accountings
- Distributing income and principal according to Trust instructions
- Distributing income and principal as directed under the Trust
- Overseeing investments
- Overseeing all tax aspects related to the Trust
- Securing personal and real property named in the Trust
- Valuating and managing personal and real property listed in the Trust
- Analyzing risk versus return on investments for the Trust
- Managing assets for the Trust
- Preparing accounting and financial reports
- Ensuring detailed financial records are maintained as pertains to all Trust assets
- Paying all bills and expenses
- Handling daily financial matters on behalf of the beneficiaries
The Administrator of Estate as Fiduciary
Anyone who has ever been named as a Personal Representative/Executor understands the weight of those titles! Serving as a Personal Representative/Executor can feel like a full-time job in and of itself. In addition to being time-consuming, it can also often be a thankless task. Having an objective professional handle or assist in handling these duties can relieve grieving family members from significant levels of stress at a time when all they really want is the time to mourn their loved one. As a fiduciary with Groover Law, I can do the following:
- Keeping all beneficiaries up-to-date regarding the management of the decedent’s estate
- Managing the assets of the decedent
- Obtaining necessary asset valuations
- Ensuring detailed financial records are properly maintained
- Paying all the decedent’s bills and expenses
- Liquidating assets when required
- Preparing inventories and accountings of the decedent’s estate
- Overseeing tax issues related to the decedent’s estate, including the tax considerations of distributions and investments
Because estate administration can be both time-consuming and intense, a family member serving as an Executor/Personal Representative may experience damaged family relationships. When a third party is named a Professional Fiduciary, the family is relieved of estate distribution stress and can focus on healing.
When selecting a Trustee or Personal Representative/Executor, it is crucial to be mindful of that person’s ability to remain objective. It is equally essential that the person be extremely well-organized and adhere to the required fiduciary duties required. Finally, the person must possess the highest level of integrity, along with the necessary knowledge to often handle complex legal and tax issues and actively supervising investment strategies.
Contact Groover Law
Under my firm, Groover Law, I am comfortable and always happy to act in a fiduciary capacity, whether as a Trustee, a Personal Representative/Executor. I fully understand and appreciate the confidence placed in me in these fiduciary roles by serving with the utmost seriousness and consideration. I want to help families by taking over these fiduciary roles.
While a fiduciary may seem like a complicated concept, I promise to explain things in a way you can easily understand, making it exceptionally easy to do business with Groover Law and with me. My ultimate goal is to have strong, lifelong relationships with my clients; therefore, my practice is one hundred percent client-centered. Contact me today!