A fiduciary is a person or organization responsible for handling all of the legal and financial issues involved with managing someone else's property and assets. If that sounds like a big job, that's because it is. Acting as a fiduciary can be complicated, confusing, and time-consuming. If you've been named or appointed to serve in a fiduciary role, it's essential to understand what you're getting into and the benefits of reaching out to professionals for help.
At Cucinelli Geiger, PC, our team of skilled Virginia attorneys helps clients successfully navigate the maze of unfamiliar legal, regulatory, and tax requirements that come with being a fiduciary. We can also serve as a fiduciary for you and your loved ones. Here's what you should know.
Who Can Act as a Fiduciary
Virginia has very few eligibility requirements for fiduciaries. Being at least 18 years of age and legally competent is all it takes. However, considering a fiduciary's wide-ranging and consequential duties, choosing a fiduciary—or accepting a court appointment to act as a fiduciary—requires a great deal of careful consideration.
While spouses, adult children, and trusted friends or family members are common choices, in some cases, temperament, career or family obligations, or distance may not make them the best choice for you. We understand, and our professional fiduciaries are here to assist you.
Types of Fiduciaries and Their Duties
There are several different types of fiduciaries, each with specific duties and responsibilities. Here's a brief overview.
A trustee is someone who manages and administers assets held within a trust according to the instructions outlined in the trust document. The duties and responsibilities of a trustee can include acting in the best interest of the trust, recording expenses and income, distributing funds to beneficiaries, filing taxes on any income the trust makes, and keeping a record of transactions.
An executor is someone named in a Will or appointed by the court to administer a deceased person's estate. Carrying out the terms of the decedent's last will and testament is the executor's primary responsibility. However, this can encompass a wide range of tasks—from marshaling resources to satisfy outstanding debts to distributing inheritances.
A conservator is a person appointed by the court to handle the financial affairs of an adult who's been declared legally incapacitated and incapable of making financial decisions for themselves. Conservators are responsible for managing, preserving, and administering assets owned by—and for the benefit of—the incapacitated person, known as the conservatee.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives a person, known as the agent, the power to make financial decisions on behalf of another person, known as the principal. Someone serving as an agent can have a wide variety of responsibilities related to directing the principal's property, finances, and investments.
You and Your Loved Ones Deserve Professional Guidance
Managing someone else's assets can be challenging. Fortunately, our experienced attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way, offering clear, concise explanations of what is required of you and when. Our fiduciary services can include:
- Assisting with bill pay
- Closing or transferring accounts
- Preparing court inventories and accountings
- Preparing trust reports
- Coordinating the preparation of tax returns
- Drafting guardian reports
- Coordinating with the family's care manager, accountant, and financial planner
- Professional trustee, executor, conservator, or POA services
Schedule a Consultation
If you've been appointed to act as a fiduciary, there's far too much at stake to go it alone. Thankfully, you don't have to. Cucinelli Geiger, PC's accomplished legal team can advise you on your duties and responsibilities and assist you with them when necessary. If you have unavoidable obligations or simply feel in over your head, we can also act as a fiduciary for your loved one. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for an initial consultation to discuss your fiduciary needs and options.