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Probate and Trust Administration

Probate

Estate or Probate Administration may be needed to implement the estate plan you have created, or as a result of your failure to create an estate plan. If you have signed a will or trust, it will be filed with the Superior Court upon your death and probated. If you have not completed an estate plan, your property will go into probate and pass to your heirs in accordance with California intestate succession law. In either case, we can assist your personal representative in the probate court procedure and in the administration of your assets. This process may include:

  • the appointment of your personal representative;

  • the collection and safeguarding of your assets;

  • the sale of your real or personal property, as needed;

  • the payment of your debts;

  • the settlement of all claims against your estate;

  • the preparation of probate court petitions and accounts;

  • the valuation and inventory of your property;

  • the preparation of all required income and wealth trans fer tax returns; and

  • the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries or heirs

If you, a family member, or a friend, have a need for assistance with probating an estate please contact us at telephone number 805-267-1141, or send an immediate email inquiry to one of our qualified lawyers.

Non-Probate Assets

Non-probate assets may also require special attention. We can help your family and friends transfer property which is not governed by your will or trust or probate court according to your wishes. The areas in which we can help include:

  • jointly held property;

  • community property and the decedent left a surviving spouse;

  • life insurance benefits;

  • retirement benefits;

  • employee death benefits; and

  • trust property.

Trust Administration

Trust administration of revocable or irrevocable trusts may be handled by our team of attorneys, administrators and paralegals. Our office can assist your trustee with with the following:

  • inventory and valuation of assets;

  • actively assist the trustee in establishing a proper record keeping system for administration of the trust;

  • assist you in directing the distribution of the decedent's retirement accounts to avoid any unnecessary income tax consequences;

  • assist you in preparation of any accounts and reports which might have to be given to other trust beneficiaries;

  • paying debts, if any;

  • paying trust expenses;

  • Prepare required estate tax returns (IRS form 706), if necessary. This includes handling related tasks involving taxing authorities (e.g., applying for tax identification numbers for the trusts, and filing notices of fiduciary relationshipp, and representing you in connection with any estate tax return audit);

  • referrals to professionals to advise your trustee how to prudently managing, protecting, and investing the assets, including maintaining appropriate property and liability insurance;

  • removing the decedent's name from the title to trust assets;

  • transferring the decedent's assets to the trusts;

  • provide written notice to all the decedent's heirs and named beneficiaries pursuant to California law;

  • distributing the trust assets to the trust beneficiaries;

  • notifying the county assessor of the changes in real estate ownership resulting from the decedent's death, and filing documents required to try to avoid property tax reassessment;

  • Taking appropriate action with respect to the decedent's property which is not included in the trust; and

  • represent you with respect to any disputes with creditors or beneficiaries which may occur in connection with the administration of the trust.

If you, a family member, or a friend, have a need for assistance with trust administration, please contact us at telephone number 805-267-1141, or send an immediate email inquiry to one of our qualified lawyers.

Trust and Probate Terminology

Administrator:  A person, or financial institution, appointed by the court to oversee an estate where there is no will.  The Administrator is also commonly referred to as the Personal Representative.

Administrator With Will Annexed:  A person, or financial institution appointed when the will does no name an Executor or the named Executor cannot serve.

Beneficiary:  A person who inherits property because he or she is named in a will or trust, or designated as the recipient upon the death of the owner of an annuity, life insurance policy, qualifed retirement plan or financial account.

Codicil:  A document which legally chnages a will through supplement or amendment.

Decedent:  A person who has passed away.

Estate:  A decedent's total assets, both real and personal, which are managed by the Personal Representative.

Executor:  The person named in the will to carry out the directions as set forth in the will.  The Executor is also commonly referred to as the Personal Reprsentative.

Heir:  A person who inherits through the laws of intestacy when there is no will.

Intestate:  Without a will.

Letters of Administration:  The court document issued to a person authorizing them to act as the Administrator (no will).

Letters Testamentary:  The court document issued to a person authorizing them to act as Executor (named in will)

Personal Representative:  A person, or financial institution, appointed to oversee an estate whether as executor, administrator or administrator with will annexed.

Probate:  The court process that determines the validity of the will and the supervision of its administration.

Testate:  A person who dies with a valid will or trust dies testate and the estate is disposed of according to the will or trust.

Trust:  A document that avoids probate which directs the disposition of a person's property after death.

Trust Estate:  A decedent's total assets, both real and personal, which are managed by the Trustee.

Trustee:  A person, or financial institution, nominated by the creator of a trust to to carry out the directions as set forth in the trust.  

Will:  A document that requires probate which directs the disposition of a person's property after death.

 If you, a family member, or a friend, have a question, please contact us at telephone number 805-267-1141, or send an immediate email inquiry to one of our qualified lawyers.

 

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