Friday, December 14, 2007

Fiduciary Administration Software

On November 29, 2007, "Fiduciary Administration Software for the Professional" was the topic of a one-hour presentation during the second day of the 14th Annual "Estate Law Institute" conducted by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, in Philadelphia.

The format for this presentation was similar to that for the session on estate planning & drafting software, which had occurred during the first day of the Institute.
See: PA EE&F Law Blog posting "Estate Planning & Drafting Software" (12/11/07).

The session occurred at the end of the very successful & well-attended Institute, which I had anticipated previously in a posting, "
PBI's "Estate Law Institute" Nov 28th-29th" (10/24/07). The panelists included:

I began the session by referring to the Pennsylvania Uniform Trust Act (Chapter 77, of Title 20's "Probate, Estates & Fiduciaries Code"), which took effect on November 6, 2006. I highlighted the sections of the PA UTA that address accountings of a fiduciary's administration of a trust.

Gene Gillin then reviewed the model accounting forms developed by the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee. These forms are required statewide for audit filings made on & after April 30, 2007. See: PA EE&F Law Blog postings, "PA's New Orphans' Ct Accounting Forms" (04/02/07); "Comparison of PA's Old & New Accounting Formats" (04/03/07); and "Clarifications on PA's New Accounting Formats" (04/06/07). He noted that vendors of fiduciary administration software have incorporated these model forms into their products.

Kathy Dever then demonstrated the FASTER Systems software, which she described as "my baby for the past 20 years". She first encountered it as a data entry clerk at Fidelity Bank, in Pennsylvania; and now, she is a principal owner of the company.
FASTER Systems provides Court Accounting, Estate Tax and Gift Tax Software and Preparation Services to help today's trust and estate professional meet their compliance requirements.

FASTER ASP Software is the only on-line, fully integrated software for court accounting, estate tax and gift tax return preparation. Designed and developed by industry professionals for industry professionals.

FASTER Accounting Services provides court accounting preparation services and estate tax preparation services to law firms, accounting firms, trust companies and banks on a fee for service basis.

She demonstrated FASTER ASP software, including its interface, online data storage, transaction & information entry, modules, customization, and output (such as the form of a PA model form accounting).

FASTER is the user-friendly Fiduciary Accounting System for Trusts and Estates Reporting for Windows®.

Using 32 bit technology, FASTER produces Court Accountings, Estate and Inheritance Tax Returns, Decedent and Guardian Inventories, Schedules of Distribution, Bring-Down Statements and Trust Accrued Income Statements.

The software is provided through an on-line hosted environment.

The characteristics of this software can be explored further on FASTER's website:

Vince Lackner then demonstrated "his baby" -- 6-in-1 for Windows -- which he & his company have developed over the past 22 years.

Since 1986, the company has been providing estate and trust software to hundreds of law firms, banks and accounting firms, in over thirteen states.

The Lackner Group pioneered the one-write solution to electronic Estate and Trust Administration.

He showed how case information or financial transactions can be entered with codes or into a form, and then flow into each of the six modules -- federal estate tax, federal gift tax, state death (inheritance) tax, fiduciary income tax (federal & state), accountings, or court forms (including probate petitions, inventory, & reports). He also demonstrated the software's customization, "help" facilities, and output, including an accounting compliant with the new requirements.

The characteristics of this program are summarized in a 2-page listing found on The Lackner Group's website.

These two integrated software packages are noted by Donald H. Kelley, Esq. in his 24-page outline, with live Internet links, entitled "Electronic Practice Leverage -- A Trusts and Estates Desktop", which was reprinted into the 3-volume materials provided to attendees by PBI. See: PA EE&F Law Blog posting "Estate Planning & Drafting Software" (12/11/07). There are a few other such software systems that should be considered.

Preparation of probate documents & death tax returns was the original impetus for creation of such professional-level software. These remain complicated programs, because the laws they address are technical & overlapping.

Since PA courts require that accountings be filed to resolve issues in fiduciary administrations, and since such accounting forms are extensive & standardized, software such as this is more important than ever to the trust & estates practitioner or to the professional fiduciary.