Even the best estate plans need proper administration. Administration can mean submitting your will to probate, or it can mean supervising the trustee’s actions after your death to ensure everything goes as you planned. Either way, our attorneys can make the process go as smoothly as possible to ensure that your wishes and values are passed on to your beneficiaries.
Probate is the process of submitting an inventory of your assets to a court, and having a Judge oversee the distribution of those assets. If you do not have a will, the Judge will appoint someone (probably a family member) to manage the distribution, and the assets will be distributed according to the laws of the state. If you had a will, the person named as Personal Representative or Executor under your will would be responsible for submitting the will to the court and that will determine how your assets are distributed.
Trusts do not need to go through probate, and therefore the administration of them is different. The person that you name in your trust as successor trustee will be in charge of distributing the trust assets according to the rules outlined in the trust document. This may sound simple, but there are often complicated provisions included in the trust involving acquiring a Tax ID number, estate tax minimization, receiving qualified retirement and life insurance benefits, as well as dividing assets into different trust shares for children or even a surviving spouse.
Trusts may also require continuing administration by a third party. Third-party Trustees are recommended for asset protection purposes or if you want to keep the terms of the Trust private from your beneficiaries. The Larson Law Firm can serve as a Trustee of your Trust, and we are capable of overseeing its administration. Our Trustee’s fees run on an annual basis, and are charged as a scaled percentage based on the value of the assets in the Trust.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Unless you have named a Personal Representative who is an attorney, the Personal Representative may not appear in court unless they have are represented by an attorney. If your successor trustee has the knowledge to interpret the trust documents accurately you may not need an attorney to administer your trust, but it is recommended to have an attorney or at least a tax professional oversee the administration of a trust after the death of the Grantor.