We guide you through the process of estate and trust administration to ensure that all debts and taxes are paid, disputes are resolved, and all assets are distributed appropriately. Throughout this process, we work to preserve assets and minimize costs to the estate.
Some people are fearful or leery of the word “Probate”. This really is not a scary term, it is the necessary process to officially prove or validate a Will with the Court. However, if you wish to avoid probate one way is to create a Revocable Living Trust. Probate is most commonly used as the generic term for when someone has a Will and now the Will and estate needs administered through the court. You have probably heard of Probate Court. This is a court that is specially designed to handle estate administrations and probating of Wills. For our purposes, we will follow the common use of the term Probate and explain that it is the process of validating the Will with the court, appointing a personal representative, starting the estate administration (opening the estate), and notifying potential creditors of someone’s death. In general, a Will gets probated and at the same time a petition (request) to appoint a personal representative (the person designated in the Will), and a petition to administer the estate (open the estate) are all filed at the same time. Every Will should be probated, but an estate is not always opened. You may open an estate/administer an estate whether the decedent has a Will or not.
Honoring a loved one’s wishes
When someone dies, the process of collection, maintenance and ultimate distribution of their assets is called estate administration. This process is carried out in accordance with either the will of the person who died, or by state law.
The estate administration process begins with the death of the decedent. Typically, the decedent’s estate is opened by the personal representative (“executor”) or other interested persons by filing an application with the court to administer the estate. The court then appoints a formal executor or administrator as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. It is then the responsibility of the personal representative to administer the estate and to account to the court for its administration.