What is a Fiduciary?
A fiduciary is an individual who accepts responsibility for looking after the needs and affairs of another person. A fiduciary must have the requisite knowledge, experience and expertise to make the appropriate decisions, and be able to provide timely, efficient and cost-effective services. It is important that a fiduciary maintain the highest ethical standards, be unbiased, and act solely in the best interests of the person for whom he or she is serving as fiduciary.
Professional Trustee and Fiduciary Services
A substantial part of our practice involves serving in such capacities as the trustee of simple or complex trusts, the special or general administrator of probate estates, and advising the Conservator of minor or incompetent adult individuals requiring supervision. Our attorneys are frequently consulted in complex trust and estate disputes and in those matters where substantial assets and complicated financial issues are involved.This experience and expertise, and availability of highly trained support staff, often results in substantial savings to the trust or estate. Principal Neal Winston’s fiduciary expertise is regularly utilized by the legal community in matters ranging from general trust and estate administration to complex litigation involving the management of a wide variety of assets.
Typically, professional fiduciaries charge for their time in addition to hiring separate legal counsel to represent them, incurring a second set of legal fees. By only charging fees at reduced fiduciary rates, the trust or estate has the advantage of both the fiduciary and attorney in one person without the necessity to seek additional legal advice at each turn.. Additionally, with the consent of the interested parties, the Winston Law Group can offer further cost savings by acting as the real estate or insurance and annuity broker and reducing related fees if feasible under the circumstances.
Wills and Estates
Mr. Winston is available to serve as a Personal Representative (formerly known in Massachusetts as an “Executor”), co-Personal Representative, successor Personal Representative, or court appointed special Personal Representative. As an independent and unbiased professional that does not have a personal financial stake in the outcome, all interested parties can put aside concerns and rest assured they will all receive what they are entitled to. This may eliminate the parties feeling they each need to hire their own counsel to protect their interests, resulting in substantial savings. Often times, the handling of estate trust assets by an inexperienced family member creates much greater work when it comes time to sell or distribute property and provide an accounting for final closure, and costs the estate much more.
In this capacity, Mr. Winston can handle all aspects of the probate administration from filing the appropriate probate petitions through final distribution of the estate, including marshaling estate assets, running or winding down the decedent’s business, handling the sale of residential or commercial estate property, paying estate expenses, final distribution of property, estate accounting and all tax related issues.
Mr. Winston is available to serve as a professional trustee, co-trustee, interim trustee, or successor trustee of a trust. Mr. Winston is somtimes appointed by a Court to serve as trustee or special fiduciary during periods of litigation and settlement. In this capacity, he is guided by the terms of the trust document and the intent of the settlor(s), by agreement of all of the beneficiaries or parties involved, or by court order.
Each trust administration is different due to varying terms, beneficiaries, size and type of assets, liquidity requirements and trust objectives. Mr. Winston provides his clients with comprehensive and personalized trust administration services, including investment management oversight, distribution management, public benefit oversight, care management, tax accounting services, and other personalized services needed by the family and trust beneficiaries.
Mr. Winston’s work in this area includes advising family conservators, and serving as a court-appointed conservator or successor conservator of minors or incompetent adult individuals requiring supervision. His typical responsibilities include:
- Personalized understanding of the individual’s needs
- Assessment of and arranging for social service and medical care
- Review and oversight of public benefit and government agency services
- Arranging for proper living arrangements
- Providing all necessary accountings to family and court
- Paying expenses and bills
- Overseeing and arranging for investment management
- Arranging for insurance coverage
- Filing tax returns and paying taxes
For more information on our professional trustee and fiduciary services, please contact Mr. Winston directly.