We know that losing a loved one can be an incredible emotional burden, and attempting to deal with the legal aspects of a death can be overwhelming. Our attorneys specialize in estate administration from the most difficult and complex cases to those that are easy and simple. Our goal is to make the process proceed as smoothly and cost effectively as possible.
Our firm specializes in Probate and Trust administration matters and navigating the sometimes-complicated family politics involved in administering a deceased family member’s estate. We focus on guiding our clients through all the legal aspects of an estate while also using our experience and expertise to help avoid and navigate the pitfalls of family dynamics, tax issues and complex asset distributions.
What is Probate?
Probate is simply the court supervised process of transferring a decedent’s assets to the decedent’s heirs. You need to open probate for a decedent if he or she has assets that are not transferred through joint tenancy, beneficiary designations or a trust. This means a probate may need to be opened even if the person had a Will. There is no asset value limit that triggers probate. It purely depends on how the decedent’s assets are held at the time of death. The Will governs distribution of probate assets under the jurisdiction and direction of the Probate Court. If, on the other hand, assets of a decedent can all pass by joint tenancy, beneficiary designation or a trust, no probate is needed and the Will of the decedent is moot.
Assets held in Trust can be administered without probate pursuant to the terms of the Trust. Upon the death of the Trustor, we advise the successor trustee with regard to the trust administration process which will involve, notifying beneficiaries of the trust, marshalling trust assets, filing appropriate tax returns and distribution of trust assets to the named beneficiaries. While trust administration does not involve the Probate Court, there are still duties the successor trustee must attend to. We are experts in this area and have over 25 years of guiding trustees through this process.