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Trust Administration & Probate
Let’s start with probate, which is a court-supervised process. To begin the probate process, a legal notice must be published in a newspaper and court appearances are needed. However, to start trust administration, a letter of notice is mailed to the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries. Trust administration is far more private, which is why many people chose this path.
In the probate process, the last will and testament and any documents in the court file are available to the public. While the general public may not have any specific interest in your will, estranged relatives, relatives you never knew you had, creditors and scammers have easy and completely legal access to this information.
Probate is the legal process of estate administration. If you use a last will as your vehicle of asset transfer, you would name an executor or personal representative in the document. This person would handle the estate administration tasks and distribute assets to the heirs that are named in the will. Many people assume that this is done shortly after the passing of the testator.
In fact, this is not the way it works. Under the laws of the state of California, the executor would be required to admit the will to probate. The probate court would supervise the administration of the estate. During probate, the creditors of the deceased individual would be notified.They would have some time to come forward to seek remuneration before the heirs receive their inheritances.
There are myriad tasks that must be completed during the probate process, and there are legal requirements that have to be met. In many if not most cases, the executor will have no experience navigating through these waters. A probate lawyer can facilitate a smooth passage through the probate process, and this is a service that we provide for our clients. In fact, you can arrange for our firm to provide estate administration assistance after you pass away when you come to us to help you execute your last will.
There are a number of different types of trusts that are used by wealthy people with very complicated estates. This often leads to the misconception that people of relatively ordinary means cannot benefit from the creation of a trust. In reality, a revocable living trust can be a great choice for many people who do not consider themselves to be among the upper crust.
The anatomy of a trust is comprised of three different entities. If you create a revocable living trust, you are the grantor. The people that would be receiving distributions from the trust after your passing would be the beneficiaries. There would also be a trustee named in the trust declaration. The trustee would be the estate administrator that would follow the instructions that you recorded in the trust agreement.
One major benefit that people gain through the creation of a revocable living trust is the avoidance of the probate process. You can also include spendthrift protections. If you utilize a last will, the people on your inheritance list would receive lump-sum bequests. On the other hand, with a living trust, you can instruct the trustee to provide limited distributions over an extended period of time.
Immediately after your passing, there will be many legalities to address. Your family will be going through a difficult time, and they may not know how to proceed. We can be engaged to assist them during the trust administration process. Our firm would be especially well-positioned if we worked with you to establish the trust when you were planning your estate.
Schedule a Complementary Consultation
If you would like to schedule a free estate administration consultation, give us a call at (209) 416-0353 or click here to request information.