Picking Your Team: Getting the Right Trustee or Personal Representative Appointed in a Wrongful Death Case

Spring 2020

The Robins Kaplan Spotlight

Under federal and state law, an individual retirement account, or IRA, ordinarily may be exempted or excluded from the assets of a bankruptcy estate and, thus, protected from the claims of creditors. What happens, however, to an inherited IRA when an heir to the account files for bankruptcy? Will those funds be entitled to theAs a rule, wrongful death cases begin tragically. Appointing a trustee or personal representative can seem like a dull formality compared with the emotions and challenges inherent in losing a loved one unnecessarily. Nonetheless, a trustee or personal representative should be carefully selected to avoid unnecessary consequences down the road.

A trustee or personal representative generally needs to be appointed to pursue a wrongful death claim. That responsibility involves more than simply being a name in the caption of a lawsuit. Generally speaking, a trustee or personal representative must act in the best interest of the next of kin. The trustee or personal representative will also have to take an active role in any resulting litigation, such as signing documents, obtaining records, and making strategic decisions.

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