PROBATE & TRUST ADMINISTRATION

Probate

Probate is legal process that takes place after someone passes away. In the simplest of terms, probate is the process of determining that a deceased person’s will is valid, identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property, paying debts of the deceased, and distributing the remaining property. Probate occurs with or without a valid will. Typically it involves several court appearances and multiple court filings.

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Trust Administration

Trust administration is a necessary process that occurs after the death of either one or both settlors. To protect the successor trustees, there are many things that must be done to ensure proper administration. Fortunately, working with an attorney for trust administration is a straightforward process that will give the successor trustees a great peace of mind throughout the administration.

Uses Of Trusts

There can be several advantages to establishing a trust, depending on your situation. Best-known is the advantage of

avoiding probate. In a trust that terminates with the death of the donor, any property in the trust prior to the donor’s death passes to the beneficiaries by the terms of the trust without requiring probate. This can save time and money for the beneficiaries. Certain trusts can also result in tax advantages both for the donor and the beneficiary. These are often referred to as “credit shelter” or “life insurance” trusts. Other trusts may be used to protect property from creditors or to help the donor qualify for Medicaid. Unlike wills, trusts are private documents and only those individuals with a direct interest in the trust need know of trust assets, trust terms and how the trust will be distributed. Provided they are well-drafted, another advantage of trusts is their continuing effectiveness even if the donor dies or becomes incapacitated.