Probate, Estate and Trust Administration
After you pass away, your estate plan needs to be administered. If you die with a Will, the assets held in your individual name cannot be collected and distributed until your named Executor completes the probate process. However, if your assets had been transferred to one or more trusts during your lifetime, then there is no delay and administration can immediately begin.
What is Probate? Probate is the legal process by which your Will is submitted to Surrogate’s Court to have it declared valid and appoint your Executor. Since it is a legal process, there are many steps which must be followed before access to assets is obtained. These include requesting your heirs to consent to the validity of the Will and the appointment of the Executor. Your heirs must consent even If they are not named as beneficiaries. This can be difficult in blended family situations or if you have disinherited, estranged, minor or disabled heirs. In addition, your Executor must submit a petition, family tree, death certificate and affidavits from attesting witnesses to your Will. A disgruntled heir who contests your Will can cause problems, considerable delay and extraordinary costs.
There are court filing fees, commissions and attorneys’ fees which must be paid, leaving less to your loved ones. However, these issues can be avoided through trust-based planning. If your assets are owned and/or designated to a properly designed Living Trust, whether revocable or irrevocable, then your Trustee has the immediate authority to administer your trust according to your instructions, pay your expenses and distribute the balance to your named beneficiaries. No court proceeding Is required, leaving your named Trustee In control and resulting in less frustration, stress and expense for your loved ones.
Avoiding probate is simple. The first step is to decide whether you want the court or your family members to control your affairs after you die. The second step is to work with us to create an appropriate, cost-effective estate plan.
"There's a place in heaven for attorneys. Thank you for walking me through this maze!
~ Angela Kadnar