Probate and Trust Administration Help

Probate and trust administration help are vital when a family member dies. This is when the assets must be collected, safeguarded and inventoried for tax purposes.

Additionally, creditor claims and owed debts must be paid. Then the remaining assets must be distributed to beneficiaries. This process takes months or even years.

Choosing a Trustee

A trustee is a person or company you appoint to manage the trust assets after your death. The choice of trustee is a critical part of your estate planning and the process of administering a trust can be a complicated one.

A common initial inclination is to name family members as trustees. They will know your philosophies and values well and they may also be familiar with the family dynamics of your beneficiaries. Family members are also typically willing to serve for little or no compensation. However, there are many downsides to choosing a family member as your trustee.

Family trustees are often not experienced in the legal and financial aspects of trust administration. As a result, they are more prone to making mistakes and they do not have the training to recognize these errors. These mistakes may have significant consequences for your beneficiaries and their ability to enjoy the benefits of your estate plan.

Another issue is that family members tend to make decisions on an emotional basis which may not always be the best for your trust and its beneficiaries. Moreover, they are not always able to quickly respond to requests from beneficiaries because of their other personal and professional obligations. This can lead to conflicts and conflicting opinions about how your trust should be managed.

A trustee must be able to communicate effectively with beneficiaries and others, including attorneys, accountants and financial institutions. It must also be able to understand the technical issues of your trust and its underlying investments, as well as keep accurate records. It is not uncommon for a trustee to spend substantial time resolving and mediating disputes between beneficiaries.

Filing the Will

Probate and Trust administration procedures ensure that the assets of a deceased person are collected, safeguarded, inventoried and appraised for tax and distribution purposes. They also ensure that the decedent’s creditors are notified and any outstanding debts and administration expenses are paid. In addition, the beneficiaries who will inherit from the estate must be officially notified of the probate proceeding.

In order to begin the probate process, the Executor of the estate must file a petition with the court. This petition must include a detailed inventory of the estate’s assets, a list of the deceased person’s creditors and a proposed distribution of the assets to beneficiaries. Once the court approves this inventory and appoints you as the executor of the estate, it will issue legal documents called Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration that authorize you to collect, safeguard, distribute and manage the estate’s assets and settle any debts on behalf of the deceased person.

If you find a will, it is recommended that you have it notarized so that you can provide a copy of it to the Probate Court if needed. If you have a copy of the will and it has been tampered with, the Probate Court may refuse to accept it as the original.

If the deceased person owned property in more than one state, you will need to start a separate probate proceeding in each of those states. If you cannot locate any legal heirs, the court will transfer ownership of all assets to the government in a process known as escheatment. This typically occurs within a certain timeframe after death. This is why many people choose to avoid escheatment by using an estate planning document, such as a Living Trust.

Notifying Creditors

In both Probate and Trust Administration, it is important to notify creditors of the deceased individual’s death. This is to ensure that all known creditors have an opportunity to file a claim against the estate and that any taxes and debts that are due are paid.

The representative of the estate (Executor in Probate or Administrator in Trust) must send a letter of notice to all known creditors. Creditors then have up to two years to present a claim. If they fail to do so, their claim will be deemed untimely and will be rejected.

Once the debts are settled, the remaining assets can be distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the will or the laws of intestacy if there is no will. The representative must also prepare an accounting of the estate’s assets and expenses and close the matter upon completion.

Both probate and trust administration have a lot of paperwork, hearings and other proceedings that must take place. However, the process of settling an estate and distributing assets is much shorter when a person’s assets are properly transferred into a living trust.

This can save families time and money and eliminate a lot of stress in a difficult and emotional time. In addition, if a beneficiary believes that they are being unfairly treated by the trustee or executor/administrator of the estate and trust, it is a good idea to enlist the help of a probate firm to assist them with handling disputes with creditors. Los Angeles probate attorney specializes in estate and trust matters can help protect the rights of the beneficiaries while still allowing them to enjoy their inheritances as intended.

Managing Trust Assets

When someone dies, their assets must be transferred to their beneficiaries. This can be done through a court-supervised process called probate, or, if the deceased person had a trust, through trust administration. A properly drafted and funded trust can avoid probate altogether, but there are still many steps that must be taken to administer a trust and transfer the property it holds.

Both probate and trust administration involve collecting detailed information on a decedent’s estate at the time of death, paying bills, dealing with creditors, and ultimately distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries. It is important to understand the differences between these processes and choose the right one for your situation.

Probate involves a lengthy, public process that takes months or even years to complete depending on the complexity of the estate. Trust administration can be just as complicated, but often much quicker and easier to handle. However, there are still filing fees and paperwork requirements involved in the latter process that can be costly.

During the trust administration process, trustees must identify and gather assets (including digital assets), notify potential heirs and creditors, manage trust income, and preserve trust property until it can be distributed in compliance with the trust terms. The responsibilities of a trustee are immense and a single oversight can have long-lasting consequences.

An experienced attorney can help you determine which assets must go through probate and which can be transferred directly to the trust. They can also help you close the estate and ensure all filing deadlines are met. They can also provide advice and guidance if the executor or trustee is making difficult decisions such as whether to sell or buy real estate, invest trust funds, litigate on behalf of the trust, etc.

Distributing Trust Assets

During the probate process, the decedent’s estate assets must be collected, safeguarded, inventoried and appraised for tax and distribution purposes. All creditors must be notified and paid. The estate’s administrators must also fulfill tax obligations and pay administration expenses and debts. Finally, beneficiaries must be notified and allowed to clear title to the decedent’s property.

A trustee of a trust can choose to distribute the estate’s assets in either an outright or staggered manner, and to give the beneficiaries the choice of how they would like their inheritance distributed (i.e. cash, investment or real estate). The trustee can also choose to make discretionary distributions. However, if a beneficiary demands an illegal distribution in violation of the terms of the trust instrument, the trustee should refuse to honor this request. Beneficiaries should be referred to the distributive provisions set forth in the trust instrument and told why their request is not in accordance with the terms of the trust.

If a beneficiary believes the trustee has failed to administer the trust properly, they can file a lawsuit against the trustee. This will delay asset distributions until the matter is resolved.

The process of settling an estate or a trust can be complicated and require the assistance of experienced attorneys from Koestner & Shahon. Los Angeles probate attorney can assist you in determining what assets to re-title into your trust to avoid the need for a probate proceeding and in preparing all of the necessary legal documents. Schedule a consultation today to see how we can help.

We can also help you determine the best options for distributing your trust assets. Whether you want your assets distributed outright or in a timed manner, we will help you create the plan that works best for you and your family.

Probate and trust administration help are vital when a family member dies. This is when the assets must be collected, safeguarded and inventoried for tax purposes. Additionally, creditor claims and owed debts must be paid. Then the remaining assets must be distributed to beneficiaries. This process takes months or even years. Choosing a Trustee A…