Trust Administration and Probate
Because of the costs and delays associated with probate proceedings, many individuals elect to establish living trusts. In addition, a variety of other trusts can achieve a number of objectives such as protecting assets, providing for loved ones with special needs, or planning for long-term care. While a trust is not probated in court like a will, there are legal requirements associated with administering a trust. In addition, those who have been named as trustees have a legal obligation to properly manage the trust assets.
Probate is the legal process of transferring property upon a person’s death. Probate is a public, court-supervised process, and it becomes necessary when someone dies without a Living Trust. A Last Will and Testament alone is not enough to avoid Probate, but if the deceased created one, it can act as a roadmap for the Probate process, especially if it identifies the estate’s Executor and the way in which the deceased wanted the estate’s assets to be distributed among its heirs.
Probate is never easy. It comes at a time of loss and grieving and it is time-consuming and it can be expensive. Many people think they need an attorney to oversee and execute the Probate process. But if the Probate is uncontested — if none of the heirs or beneficiaries is disputing the distribution of the estate — you do not need an attorney.
Probate is a very methodical process, and it includes locating and determining the value of the decedent’s assets, liquidating them, if necessary, to pay the final bills and taxes, then distributing the remainder of the estate to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries.