Attorney and Licensed Trustee as Trust and Estate Planning Expert WitnessWhy Consult a Trust and Estate Planning Expert Witness?
The complex nature of estate and trust planning and administration and the amount of money often involved make consulting with a trust and estate planning expert a necessary step in any estate or trust planning matter. When conflicts, including, distribution, taxation or other matters, arise in the administration of an estate it often takes a licensed trustee serving as a trust and estate planning expert witness to help provide insightful expert knowledge into the proper standard of care applicable in various estate planning and administration procedures. Trust and estate planning is a complex area of law that requires years of experience to master as an expert. A trust and estate planning expert can and should be consulted at any stage in a proceeding, often even before a claim arises. He or she will use their years of knowledge to provide counsel with clear and concise analysis of key issues involved in the proceeding. Later, the trust and estate planning expert witness will often testify as to the standard of care applicable in the complex and specialized estate planning matters involved.
What Qualifies someone to be a Trust and Estate Planning Expert Witness?
Although there is no fixed standard of what is required for someone to be considered an "Expert" trust and estate planning witness, the general view is that an expert is qualified as such by virtue of experience, education, skill and training. A qualified expert witness will have many years of experience in both trust and estate plan drafting and management as well as taxation. Expert witnesses often have multiple degrees and may be certified as an expert by either a state bar association, a private organization that maintains lists of qualified professionals, or by their experience. A qualified legal trust and estate expert witness will be educated and knowledgeable in the field of estate planning, ideally a licensed trustee with active management of multiple trusts, and will be up-to-date about current issues affecting the law of trusts, taxation and estates. Claiming to be an expert is never enough. Always ask someone claiming to be a trust and estate planning expert the following questions:
- How many years of experience do you have as a trust and estate planning expert and licensed trustee?
- How many trust agreements have your drafted? How many trusts have you managed?
- How much experience do you have drafting and managing high-net-worth trusts?
- Have you ever been asked to deal with an issue with similar facts to the one presented here?
- Do you prepare the tax returns required to be filed?
Be sure the person claiming to be a trust and estate planning expert has the requisite experience in the field to properly answer your questions in a clear and understandable manner. When looking for an expert witness it is critical that the witness be able to explain complex matters in a way that is easily understood by a jury or attorney without specialized knowledge.
When Should I Consult With a Trust and Estate Planning Expert Witness?
A trust and estate planning expert witness should be consulted any time there is a question concerning complex trust and estate administration. Even before contemplating litigation, a trust and estate planning expert witness can be utilized to answer questions concerning the rights of beneficiaries and the duties of trustees as well as to answer complex Estate and Transfer Tax questions. A trust and planning expert should always be contacted if you believe that a trustee has breached his fiduciary duty to the trust or if the trust was poorly drafted as a result of professional negligence. A trust and estate planning expert may also be able to provide advice about trust and estate planning matters while contemplating the formation of an estate plan.
Contact C Tucker Cheadle for an experienced Trust and Estate Planning expert witness. Call to discuss your specific case needs at 949.553.1066.
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.