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Why an Accounting Expert Witness Is a Wise Decision for Court Cases

An accounting expert witness can assist the trustee to make sure that he prepares and serves a proper accounting on the beneficiaries. If a petition is filed with the Court and the trustee finds himself involved in litigation with beneficiaries, an accounting expert witness can testify on the trustee's behalf as to the trust accounting that he had prepared. The accounting can be used by trustee to show that he properly managed the trust estate and, as such, that he fulfilled his duties as trustee.

A trustee is required to provide a trust accounting to the beneficiaries at least annually or as provided in the terms of the trust. He is also required to provide an accounting at the termination of a trust or upon a change of trustee. In California, a trust accounting must comply with specific and formal requirements set forth in Probate Code Section 16063 and 1061 (for court-approved accountings).

If the trustee refuses to provide an accounting to beneficiaries, the beneficiaries can file a petition with the court asking the Court to order the trustee to provide an accounting. Once the trustee provides an accounting, the beneficiaries have a limited amount of time to object to it.

The accounting of the trust can also be used by beneficiaries against the trustee if the trustee did not properly manage the trust assets. An accounting expert witness will assist the beneficiary to review and analyze the information in the trust accounting, determine if the beneficiary needs additional information from the trustee to understand the accounting and assess if the trustee caused damage to the trust assets. Moreover, if the beneficiary is involved in litigation with the trustee, the beneficiary can use an accounting expert witness to testify as to the problems discovered in the trust accounting and the damages caused by the trustee. If the beneficiary can prove that the trustee caused damages to the trust, the Court can issue an order for surcharge against the trustee, which is an order that the trustee pay damages back to the trust.

Tucker Cheadle is an attorney and tax expert and serves as an accounting expert witness in court. During his more than 30 years of experience, Tucker Cheadle has acted as a fiduciary, trustee, executor, and administrator on more than 70 trusts and wills. Cheadle Law continues working with clients year over year because of the skill and expert handling of all trust matters including accounting, tax returns, administrating trusts and the overall management of the clients' trust.

Call Cheadle Law at 949-553-1066 to discuss working with the firm as an accounting expert witness in a court case.

A review of any materials on this web page, any preliminary comments or an introductory meeting does not constitute legal, income tax or accounting advice upon which reliance can be placed. The attorney client relationship can only be created by a written retainer agreement following a check of potential and actual conflicts of interest with other clients.
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