Estate Planning, Trust Administration,
and Probate Services
Estate planning is the process by which you plan ahead, make informed decisions, record your plan in a legally enforceable way and maintain your plan as inevitable changes occur in your personal circumstances and applicable laws. Your estate plan will make it easier for you and loved ones to deal with future crises such as disability or death. You will know that your choices and decisions about personal care, handling your income and property will be done by those you choose to act for you. Matters will not be left up to others or for the court to decide. With your estate plan in place, your life and the lives of your loved ones can be more certain, less stressful and less complicated.
An Estate Plan is the written, legally enforceable document of a person’s estate planning decisions. Depending on the circumstances and the decisions, an estate plan may be documented in a Last Will and Testament, Trust, Family Limited Partnership, Deeds, account ownership and beneficiary designations, Powers of Attorney, Living Will Declaration and other advance directives. Proper estate planning now can greatly simplify things in the future, avoiding unnecessary expense and court involvement in the event of incapacity and death.
Estate Plan Administration
The process by which your estate plan is carried out by you and subsequently by those you name to act for you and your loved ones to manage your personal care as well as your income and property in the event of disability or death.
The process of administering Trust assets according to the terms of a Trust. The “Trustee” must follow the provisions in the Trust and the Trust laws. When someone with a Trust becomes incapacitated or passes away, the Successor Trustee will step in and manage the assets according to the terms of the Trust. A Trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to manage the assets properly. There are many requirements of a Trustee, including paying final bills, filing final tax returns, managing and liquidating assets, and distributing assets according to the terms of the Trust. If you are a Trustee of a Trust that is not your Trust, we recommend seeking legal advice to ensure you meet all of your fiduciary obligations.
This is a court process for a person who passes away without an estate plan designed to avoid court involvement. A court and those designated by the court, rather than by you, supervise and make decisions for the management of your income and property and the disposition of your property following death. While this process is available when needed, it can be burdensome, introduce uncertainty, cause delay and involve considerable expense.