When a fiduciary is tasked with acting in the best interests of a beneficiary or class of beneficiaries, differences of opinion about the actions taken or not taken by the fiduciary can often give rise to disputes and allegations of fraud. In general, a fiduciary is accountable to beneficiaries for the proper oversight and administration of a trust or estate. The fiduciary is often required to prepare an accounting of all income and expenses of the trust or estate, including any distributions made to beneficiaries, as well as any gains or losses realized from the investment of assets.
An accurate accounting is not only required by law but also often by the governing trust documents or will. Accurate accounting is also critical in avoiding or resolving fiduciary disputes and protecting the interests of all parties involved.
Independent and Impartial Analysis
When faced with a dispute that challenges the fiduciary’s administration of a trust, estate, will, or conservatorship, including allegations of mismanagement of assets or improper distributions, working with a team of experienced forensic accountants provides parties and their attorneys the independent and impartial analysis needed to reach expeditious and fair resolutions.
Deep Experience Representing Fiduciaries and Beneficiaries
Most of our professionals have advanced degrees and certifications in areas such as accounting (CPA), financial forensics (CFF, MAFF), fraud investigation (CFE), and valuation (ASA, ABV, CVA). Our professionals routinely serve as expert witnesses and consulting experts on behalf of fiduciaries, as well as for beneficiaries. Clients have included trust companies, trustees, banks, individual beneficiaries, groups or classes of beneficiaries, charities, and executors.
Our Fiduciary Accounting Disputes Services Include:
- Reviewing and analyzing financial and accounting records, including an opening inventory of trust or estate property, bank statements, check registers, general ledger reports, tax returns and associated tax forms to confirm that all transactions, including deposits, expenses, investments, and distributions, have been properly recorded and that all assets and liabilities are properly accounted for.
- Reconstructing missing or incomplete records to provide an accurate and complete picture of the financial condition and performance of the trust or estate.
- Allocating receipts and disbursements to or between principal (corpus) and income of the trust or estate.
- Assessing the appropriateness of asset distributions and whether they were made in accordance with the terms of the trust or will.
- Providing expert testimony in court or during mediation to help resolve disputes and achieve an equitable outcome for all parties involved.