The loss of a loved one is usually followed by a grieving process that can be difficult and stressful. It can be even more difficult and stressful if you are also responsible for administering the estate your loved one left behind. The probate and trust administration attorneys at Stivers Law can help you successfully fulfill your duties and responsibilities as Executor or Trustee.
What Happens during the Probate Process?
The estate left behind by a loved one may include real property, personal property and/or intangible property. Those assets must be secured, inventoried, and ultimately transferred to the intended beneficiaries and/or legal heirs of the estate. The legal process by which this is accomplished is referred to as “probate.” If a Last Will and Testament was left behind the person named as the Executor in that Will is responsible for overseeing the probate of the estate. The terms of the Will determine how the assets are distributed. If the decedent died intestate (without a Will), the court will appoint someone to oversee probate and the state intestate succession laws dictate how the estate assets are distributed. Probate can be time consuming and confusing for the person in charge of overseeing the process. To avoid making costly mistakes, it is usually best to have an experienced probate attorney assist you if you are responsible for probating an estate.
What Is Involved in Trust Administration?
Trust assets bypass probate which one reason many people use a trust as their primary distribution method within their estate plan. When a trust is created, the Settlor (the person creating the trust) appoints a Trustee. If you are that Trustee, you are responsible for administering the trust. The terms of the trust will dictate when assets should be distributed to beneficiaries; however, a Trustee’s duties do not stop there. Managing and investing trust assets, maintaining trust records, and ensuring that all taxes owed by the trust are paid are just a few of the additional responsibilities of a Trustee. To ensure that your Trustee duties are carried out successfully and without error, it is in your best interest to retain an experienced trust administration attorney to assist you. To learn more about probate and trust administration, please download our free report, “Trust Administration: Prior Planning Prevents Problems.”
The probate and trust administration attorneys at Stivers Law are committed to helping you navigate the complex process of probating an estate or administering a trust. Contact our office today by calling (305) 456-3255 or filling out our online contact form.