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Probate and Trust Administration
Probate is the legal process that takes place at your death to pass title to your assets and resolve any outstanding debts. An attorney chosen by your executor completes the legally required documents and files them with the court. If you have a Will then the Will is filed along with the documents with the court and the court will assure that your assets are distributed as you have stated in your Will.
It is best to try and avoid probate so that your estate is saved time, money and is able to preserve your family’s privacy. The minimum time to probate an estate is six months however if more complicated can be as long as one to two years and even longer. This process is expensive and can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
At The Law Office of Kim White I understand that the death of a relative, loved one or friend is difficult, and that having to deal with confusing laws that prevent you from accessing your loved ones assets can be frustrating, time consuming and costly. I am here to assist with minimizing the confusion and administrative burden of this process and to be with you during the entire probate process.
Trust Administration is the process of carrying out the wishes/plan of the creators of the trust when the creators of the trust have become incapacitated or passed away. When a trust is formed, the creator of the trust specifies how his or her assets are to be distributed at the time of his or her death. The trust will also specify a trustee, often a family member or close friend, or occasionally a corporate trustee or private fiduciary, to carry out the wishes of the trustor.
Upon the death of the creator, the trustee will be responsible for a myriad of aspects of trust administration, including, but not limited to: providing notice and copies of the trust to all beneficiaries and heirs, notifying appropriate state agencies; filing an estate tax return, if necessary; notifying county agencies of the death of a real property owner; requesting a taxpayer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service; establishing a trust administration bank account to collect assets; mediating disputes between beneficiaries and family members not named as beneficiaries, etc.
With a Trust in place the process avoids probate and therefore is a private process, more straightforward and almost always less expensive than a court supervised probate. It is recommended to work with an attorney to help facilitate the process for the trustees throughout the process. A Trustee can be held personally liable for any mistakes they make in the performance of the duties required. An experienced attorney will help the trustee avoid the pitfalls involved with Trust Administration.
Here at the Law of Office of Kim White I will help you understand and properly file the appropriate tax forms, avoid incurring personal liability while performing their duties, defend the trust against challenges by heirs and beneficiaries who feel they were not properly considered by the decedent, draft and send proper notice to the heirs and beneficiaries of the trust in a manner that limits their time to challenge the trust agreement, understand the terms of the trust and if necessary to petition the court to resolve any ambiguities and confirm that all of the liabilities of the estate, including taxes, have been paid in full before final distribution of the trust assets.
Call today for a free 1-hour consultation