Forensic Accounting in Estate and Trust Litigation
Forensic Accounting in Will Contests and Trust Disputes
A Forensic Accounting of financial records is often used to analyze, interpret, summarize and present complex financial and business related issues in a manner which is both understandable and properly supported. Make no mistake, it’s essential that you speak with an attorney experienced in forensic accounting audits before you go to court and litigate your contested will or living trust estate case in New York. For the proper protection and advice or for help with questions of conveyance of assets or any other forensic accounting or estate and living trust litigation questions we are there for you and your family. Our attorneys are not only trained in handling simple estate and elder law dispute matters, we take care of complex fraudulent conveyance litigation in the event of any elder law and estate proceeding or litigation in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, Bronx, Westchester, Richmond County, Manhattan and Brooklyn Kings County New York.
Our law firm and professional staff can handle any aspect of the lawsuit, including:
- Preparation, filing and argument of legal motions
- Discovery, including depositions, analysis of documents, and requests for production
- Preparation of court documents, such as petitions, objections, legal briefs for the court and supporting affidavits
- Contested wills lawsuits and settlement negotiations
- Representation at court conferences
We will thoroughly investigate the facts related to an estate or trust, addressing such issues as:
- What assets really exist and find missing assets
- Where those assets are or where they went
- Whether the valuation of those assets was correct
Trust vs Wills * Removal of a Trustee * Guardianship * Probate * Beneficiary Rights
Medicaid Asset Protection * Probate Litigation * Estate Litigation * Living Trusts
In Home Care * Supplemental Needs Trusts * Fraudulent Transfers
We are versed at tracking, verifying and coordinating of all assets and transactions, including:
- Income and expenses
- Tax deductions
- Asset transfers
- Tax deposits and payments
- Contract obligations
- Missing, hidden or abandoned assets
- Calculation of executor and trustee commissions
What is Forensic accounting?
Forensic accounting is much different than traditional accounting and auditing in a number of ways. First, forensic accounting integrates investigative auditing, and accounting skills. Second, in forensic accounting data is reviewed in a critical manner in order to identify patterns of suspicious behavior. Finally, forensic accounting does not merely rely on statistical probabilities but instead it relies upon experience in similar situations, instinct, and finding a workable solution to the problem, not to mention a more detailed and thorough review of all relevant support including documents and electronic data. The law offices of Rubinstein, Zeh & Associates brings Forensic accounting many steps higher than in traditional accountant: our forensic legal team is highly analytical, detail-oriented and has the ability to bring to light the facts that support potential claims in both civil and criminal matters.
Forensic accounting can serve any number of distinct goals during an estate, will or trust dispute. Understanding forensic accounting should be the first place to start.
There are three general roles where forensic accountants provide assistance during a dispute. The 3D’s that are the most important deliverables are as follows:
1. Discovery assistance (i.e., knowing what specific information to request, and identifying the
appropriate individuals to interview or depose).
2. Developing a detailed, yet simplified, analysis and report that communicates the appropriate
findings and conclusions.
3. Delivering effective testimony whether it be in deposition, trial, arbitration, or other dispute
Outside of the roles outlined above, there are areas of functional expertise. The classic expertise associated with a forensic accountant is asset tracing, which can lead to the discovery of asset misappropriation, whether on the part of the trustee or some other third-party in the service of the trustee. The tracing can, and routinely does, involve the reconstruction and analysis of banking and other investments records. This may also require a “sources and uses” of cash analysis, a capital account analysis and substantiation of various other assets including complex financial instruments contained within the trust, will or estate.
When dealing with trust, accounting, it has its own particular rules with respect to proper allocation of receipts and disbursements (i.e., income and expense) and principal. This allocation is critical in determining the maximum amount the trustee is required to distribute to income beneficiaries derived from the trust agreement. If unclear from the trust documents, each state has a form of a Uniform Principal and Income Act that provides guidance on the determination of this allocation. This is another area where forensic accountants have been retained to assist in the determination of what receipts and disbursements constitute income or principal since it can impact trust income and the beneficiaries’ rights to distributions. The manipulation of such an allocation, in certain instances where the trustee may be a remainder beneficiary, can potentially be construed as self-dealing. A reconstruction of the financial statements of the trust by the forensic accountant may provide the evidence of a breach of fiduciary duty and at the same time quantify the resulting damages.
This information is not an attempt to present all you should know when you hire a law firm for investigative forensic accounting in a trust, estate or will in New York but rather to present just some of the basic information about New York Forensic Accounting, and how the Law Firm of Rubinstein, Zeh and Associates can help resolve any trust, will, or estate disputes through the use of a forensic estate audit. While we make every effort to give details of Forensic Accounting procedures in a living trust, will or estate, Rubinstein, Zeh & Associates cannot and does not constitute this as qualified legal advice; and, as always, you should seek the advice of qualified professionals who are familiar with your circumstances as well as applicable federal and New York laws. Rubinstein, Zeh & Associates helps families just like yours with these complicated estate, living trust, and will situations in regards to forensic accounting audits.
The best way to win a law suit is if you are prepared with the proper facts. The attorney’s at the law office of Rubinstein, Zeh can put together a proper plan to protect your families’ interests in the event of a lawsuit.
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We are dedicated to your success so contact us. Speak with one of our knowledgeable Long Island Forensic accounting estate, will and trust litigation attorneys today from wherever you are in New York in Nassau and Suffolk, Brooklyn, Kings and Queens Counties, on Long Island and all New York City boroughs including Bronx, Westchester, Richmond County, and Manhattan.
Call 1-800-960-1529 today.
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