ESTATE ADMINISTRATION AND POST-MORTEM SERVICES
Members of our law firm are highly skilled in the administration of revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, wills, and other probate matters after a loved one passes away. Estate administration can be complex, with the necessity of obtaining federal tax identification numbers, creation of cascading trusts, marital deduction trusts, bypass trusts, advising trustees and executors, or probating a will in court. Our attorneys have many years of experience with complex estate administration for both medium size and large estates.
The transfer of property post-mortem, whether by will or intestacy, requires a process of specific judicial proceedings: the process is called ‘probate’. The goal of this process is first of all to verify the authenticity of the will, and secondly to ensure that the assets of the deceased are distributed according to his or her wishes. If there is no will or estate plan, the assets will be distributed in accordance with state intestacy rules.
A properly funded trust usually avoids probate. However, there are still many steps needed for the proper estate administration: the beneficiaries must be notified, assets must be collected and inventoried, potential creditors should be notified, debts, taxes and final expenses must be paid, and ultimately all remaining income and wealth should be distributed in accordance with the trust’s terms. Successor trustees often lack the time, resources or knowledge to personally manage the succession and therefore may need to hire legal, accounting and investment professionals. Often, a corporate trustee (such as a trust company) is an excellent alternative to relying solely on family members or friends who might be too busy to serve as trustees.