Trust & Estate Administration
Flagstaff Law Group provides trust and estate administration services throughout northern Arizona.
We are Here to Help
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.
What is Trust & Estate Administration?
As your attorney, we work closely with the family, beneficiaries, and other advisors to ensure the decedent’s trust assets are collected, debts are paid, and the remaining assets are distributed to the named beneficiaries, or to the heirs of the estate. Depending on the situation, assets may be distributed outright to the named beneficiaries, or they might be held in trust for the future benefit of the named beneficiaries. If there is no trust, assets will either be distributed outright to those named in a will, or to the heirs as determined by statute, or held by a guardian named by the court until an heir reaches the age of majority.
During this time, we may also need to have appraisals of major assets completed in order to get a clear picture of what the decedent’s net worth was for estate tax purposes. Additionally, the title of trust or other estate assets may need to be changed to indicate new ownership by the named beneficiary outright or under a continuing trust.
All of this can be complicated and time consuming, but our trust and estate administration lawyers will transfer assets as quickly and smoothly as possible, resolve outstanding issues, and ensure that everything occurs within the applicable legal deadlines.
Trust & Estate Administration Services
Below, we’ve outlined some of our most common trust and estate administration services. We can help accomplish the following duties without unnecessary delay and with utmost respect for your personal privacy and your family relationships.
Our primary objective is to make this process as easy as possible for you, and minimize the impact of going to court, while also keeping your family out of conflict.
Identification, collection, and determination of values of assets
Payment of all debts, expenses, and taxes from estate and trust assets, with submission of regular accountings
Advice as to disposition of jointly held assets, life insurance, and retirement benefits that pass outside a will or trust
Notifying all heirs and beneficiaries of the trust or estate
Communicating with beneficiaries
We make the process as smooth as possible.
No matter how complex the trust or estate administration process may be, the trust and estate administration lawyers at Flagstaff Law Group will guide you every step of the way.
We’ll work closely with personal representatives, executors, beneficiaries, and other fiduciaries to ensure the terms of the trust are carried out properly. At the same time, we’ll make the process as understandable and stress-free as possible for the trustee.
It’s easier than you think.
2. We’ll help you understand the process options available to you
3. Determine your
best next steps
for how to proceed