FIVE TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR PROBATE PRACTICE
April 19, 2011 § 7 Comments
- Always accompany the executor, administrator, guardian or conservator to the bank or other financial institution to open the estate account. That way you can make sure that the funds are properly deposited into a restricted account, and that the fiduciary does what she is supposed to do.
- Always ask that a duplicate bank statement be sent to you for the estate account. If the bank balks, direct that the bank statement be sent to you and not the fiduciary. Review each bank statement promptly when you receive it to make sure that no unauthorized disbursements are being made. Also, when the next accounting comes due — Voila! — you have a complete set of bank statements.
- Have your secretary or paralegal call the fiduciary every couple of months to inquire how things are going, to remind of upcoming deadlines, and to ensure that the address and telephone info in your file is accurate. This is not only great client relations, it’s one of the best means possible to discover and address problems in their early stages.
- Accompany your fiduciary to inventory that safe deposit box, and, if possible, bring a witness. It seems that there is often someone lurking in the wings ready to allege that there were all sorts of valuable items in there that the fiduciary is not accounting for.
- Do an inventory even when one is not required. Inventory establishes the baseline for accounting. It also can help neutralize the claims of many disgruntled heirs and sideline-sitters.