If estate planning is the process of designing a playbook, probate and trust administration is the process of putting the playbook into action. The process begins with an event that triggers a provision in your estate plan, such as incapacity or death. The plan becomes “executory,” meaning that the individuals you designated in your plan documents must step into action and execute according to your instructions.
Probate and trust administration can be complex and the people you have designated must have competent and experienced counsel to guide them through the process. They must make important decisions—sometimes quickly—and they need help to make those decisions wisely. They may need to prepare inventories of your property, prepare tax returns, or sign other important documents on your behalf. Ultimately, they must divide and distribute your property to those individuals or charities you identified in your will or trust agreement.
The administration process carries a lot of responsibilities and takes time. We can help guide you through the process as sensitively and completely as possible and we strive to make it as cost-effective, straightforward, and efficient as possible.
Probate is a court-supervised process for distributing the individually owned assets of a deceased person. It is sometimes referred to as “probating an estate,” or a “decedent estate.” Assets are distributed to beneficiaries in accordance to the instructions written in the person’s will or, for those that die without a will, are distributed to the deceased person’s heirs-at-law according to state law.
A living trust is a legal document that, just like a will, contains your instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. But unlike a will, a living trust can avoid probate at death, control all of your assets, and be handled outside of any probate court involvement.
Probate and Trust Litigation
Sometimes, although not very often, the parties do not agree. Sometimes it is the terms of the trust or will. Other times they don’t agree on the distribution of the assets. Let us help you navigate through—and hopefully avoid—the litigation process.