If an interested party has the right to retain an experienced Estate Litigation Attorney who can petition the court and obtain an order forcing an Agent, Executor or Trustee to file a Formal Accounting. Day-to-day, there is little fiduciary oversight. This freedom is countered by the ability for the court to obtain Formal Accounting detailing every action the fiduciary has taken. If the fiduciary cannot justify an expense or distribution the court is free to surcharge the fiduciary, forcing them to use their funds to correct the error.
A Durable General Power of Attorney gives an “Agent” power to manage assets. An interested person can force the Agent to file a Formal Accounting, explaining every action taken and justifying every expense.
Are you are an interested person who believes an Agent has abused their powers? If so, you may have your Estate Litigation Attorney file a Petition forcing the Agent to file a Formal Accounting. Once filed, the interested parties may object to the information provided. If the judge believes the Agent’s actions wrongfully reduced the estate, then the judge may surcharge the Agent. If the Agent cannot recover the funds, the Agent must replenish the estate with the Agent’s funds.
An interested beneficiary has the right to refuse to accept an Informal Accounting. Instead, the beneficiary may retain an experienced Accounting Attorney. This lawyer can force the Personal Representative to prepare, file and defend a Formal Accounting. If the Executor or Administrator has acted in a way that reduces your inheritance, the judge can surcharge the Executor. The court may order any difference made up from the Executor’s funds.
A Trust beneficiary has the right to retain an Accounting Lawyer. As a result, the beneficiary then has an advocate who will petition the court to force the Trustee to file a Formal Accounting. The Trustee must comply. The Formal Accounting must detail all assets and justify all expenses. The Accounting Attorney may then object to anything in the Formal Account. If the judge believes the Trustee’s actions reduced the trust the judge may surcharge the Trustee. If the Trustee cannot recover the funds, the Trustee must use the Trustee’s funds to pay the surcharge.
A Beneficiary may hire an Estate Litigation Attorney to defend the Beneficiary’s rights. This Attorney then represents the Beneficiary, not the Trustee or Executor.
Often estate and trust beneficiaries retain our firm to represent them, even if there is no immediate need to file a cause of action in the court. Unless you have years of experience with the rules and procedures surrounding an estate or interpreting a trust, you will likely find this area strange and confusing.
One of the strengths of our estate attorneys is the ability to explain these complex matters in a way that you will understand. We can walk you through the interpretation of a will’s terms, or the obligations under the terms of a trust. We can also help you understand the tax complexities surrounding these entities.
At times, we also find that an executor or the trustee of a trust may simply need some supervision. A letter to a executor or trustee announcing that you have retained an experienced estate litigation attorney might be all that is needed to prevent what might otherwise develop into fiduciary misconduct or even a breach of fiduciary duty.
If you have any questions about Forcing or Compelling an Accounting or any other estate law topics, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.
For more than two decades Klenk Law has focused only on Estate Law. We’ve seen it all, and this experience allows us to explain complex Estate Law and Forcing an Accounting clearly and concisely. If you would like to Compel an Accounting, our experienced Estate Litigation Attorneys will make it easy for you to understand and provide top notch representation so you can make the best decisions.
Many firms assign Estate Litigation cases to their young lawyers or a general litigator. This is not cost effective. Being that Estate Litigation is what we do, our experience allows us to focus quickly on the issues that matter. By being focused, we arrive at the most cost efficient plan. We find the solution to your problem while the others are just warming up.
While some firms litigate, few of them have whole departments focused exclusively on estate matters. At Klenk Law, our Probate Litigators have the luxury of partnering with other lawyers from our Probate or Estate Planning Departments. The depth of experience we can focus on your case is truly impressive. Whatever issue you are facing, our team has the answer.
Our breadth of experience allows us to successfully represent beneficiaries taking on lazy trustees and executors. In the same way, we are equally skilled at protecting trustees and executors from ungrateful beneficiaries. Whether you are a fiduciary, agent, guardian or beneficiary, our skills will best represent your case.
Peter Klenk is the founding member of Klenk Law, a seven attorney boutique estate planning law firm. We serve clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota and Florida. Peter Klenk received his Masters in Taxation LL.M. from NYU Law School and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He served his country in the Navy JAGC during Desert Storm. Easy to talk to, feel free to call Peter for an appointment. We will make the process as easy as possible!
"I worked for Peter Klenk for 4 wonderful years. I can’t speak highly enough of everyone at the firm. Everyone truly cares about their clients and has a strong sense of responsibility to get things done right. I would highly recommend Klenk Law!"
Peter Klenk & Associates is my go-to firm for estate planning and advice in probate and estate administration. Peter and his attorneys are top-notch and exceptionally responsive. Peter has the knack of being able to explain extremely complex tax and estate planning issues in a manner that clients are easily able to understand and comprehend allowing them to confidently make important decisions.
Peter recently gave a presentation about Wills & Trusts at my employer, and it was fantastic! He was extremely knowledgeable and provided valuable information to the group. People were very engaged and asked several questions, all of which Peter thoroughly answered. Personally, my husband and I have selected Peter to help us with our estate planning, and he has been very helpful in providing us with all of the information we need to provide a secure future for our family. Thank you, Peter!
When it came down to picking the right attorney to handle my affairs, I knew right away it was this firm. From speaking to their secretary to speaking to Peter I knew I was making the right decision. After only a few mins Peter knew right away what I was looking for and handled all my questions professionally and even gave me great feedback that put my mind at ease. All that without even giving a single penny! So of course I hired him! So far so good...
Peter came highly recommended by a close friend to do our estate planning. We have been putting off for years. He is knowledgeable, professional and easy to work with.
I met Peter soon after he started his practice in Philadelphia, PA. He and his team have always been there for me and my various inquiries throughout my life-changing events, corporate relocations. I have lived in various cities throughout the nation, I have never had a problem in contacting Peter or a member of his team. He and his office responds quickly and returns calls to me to fulfill my requests for information or to revise my estate needs while posing relevant thought-provoking questions that I need to consider to secure my future. One of Peter's best qualities is his ability to answer clients complicated questions in a simple way to ensure comprehension.