Probate & Trust
As with any legal proceeding, there are technical aspects to probate and trust administration: Creditors need to be notified and legal notices published. Trustees need to be guided in how and when to distribute assets and how to take creditors rights into account. A Petition to appoint a personal representative may need to be filed and Letters of Administration obtained. There are time factors involved in filing and objecting to claims against the estate. There may be a lawsuit pending over the decedent’s death or there may have been pending suits that are now continuing. Real estate may need to be sold to effectuate correct distribution of assets pursuant to the estate plan or merely to pay debts. Estate taxes must be considered if the estate exceeds certain thresholds- currently $5.Million for 2011 and 2012. Other assets may simply need to be transferred from the decedent to his or her heirs.
Probate can be avoided if all assets are in a trust. The probate process is more complicated in populous counties. At every step, expert knowledge and advice will help the process go smoothly with as little extra stress as possible.