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What are the responsibilities of a fiduciary in New York?

A fiduciary is a person who is responsible for administering the estate of a deceased person. Depending on the circumstances, some fiduciaries will be referred to as executors, and some will be called administrators. An executor is a person who was named specifically in the deceased person's will as the individual who would be charged with managing the estate. When a person dies who had no will, the court will appoint an individual to be the estate administrator.

Fiduciaries are responsible for collecting all of the deceased person's assets and ensuring that they are distributed to the proper individuals. Payment of any debts or obligations owed by the deceased person must also be completed as long as the estate has adequate funds to do so.

A fiduciary is also responsible for filing any tax forms that are required for the estate. The decedent's final state and federal income tax returns might need to be filed along with an estate tax return and a fiduciary income tax return. While managing the estate, a fiduciary may have to open a checking account on behalf of the estate to collect any funds that need to be kept apart from other funds.

While performing the obligations of a fiduciary, it is important that an individual maintain careful and accurate records. After being appointed to a fiduciary position, a person with very little experience dealing with financial matters may feel overwhelmed by the tasks. An attorney might be able to assist someone with their fiduciary responsibilities and help ensure that the estate is managed properly. Because every estate involves its own unique variables, the information in this blog is not comparable to personalized legal counsel.

Source: NYCourts.gov, "Fiduciary Responsibilities", October 19, 2014

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