When a loved one dies it can be a confusing time in which you are in immense grief while also needing to make sure you handle all the technical details of locating assets, paying bills and making sure your loved one’s assets get to the right people, without conflict.
Whether your loved one created a trust to hold their assets, left a will, or did neither, he or she did have assets (called the estate of the deceased) that must be handled with careful attention. It is critical that you work with an attorney who can help you to do the right thing, minimize conflict and ensure the smoothest possible transition of assets.
When someone creates a trust as part of their estate plan, they must name a trustee to ensure the trust’s terms are handled properly. These individuals must carry out all of the trust’s instructions, and they’re legally responsible for doing so within the scope of federal and state law. Such duties are known as trust administration.
Similarly, when someone writes a will, they generally name a “personal representative” to carry out the terms of the will. When an individual passes away without leaving a will, a court must appoint a personal representative according to state law. Like a trustee, the personal representative must carry out the will’s instructions or follow requirements of the law and do so through the court process known as probate. This is referred to as estate administration.
Serving as a trustee or personal representative entails a huge level of responsibility and liability. What’s more, most people named as trustee or personal representative will have limited, if any, background or experience in the legal and financial duties that come with administering a trust or an estate. In this case, the trust and estate administration lawyers at Flagstaff Law Group can work with the trustee or personal representative to ensure the trust or estate is administered properly and all legal requirements are satisfied.
If you are a beneficiary of an estate, or a trustee or personal representative, contact us for support in handling the transition of your loved one’s assets as easily as possible.