probate and trust administration

“In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.”
On Death, without Exaggeration, Wislawa Szymborska

how we can help

In many cases, you may need no more than a consultation or two.  However, liability can be imposed on the personal representative or the trustee if the decedent’s taxes or creditor claims are not paid, or if the assets are not handled and distributed property.  An attorney’s assistance can protect you.

simple administration

  • You and your spouse owned your assets jointly, and you are the designated beneficiary on your spouses life insurance and retirement accounts.
  • Your mother had a simple will, leaving her estate to you and your sibling. You want to do most of the work yourself but could use a road map.
  • You are the trustee of your aunt’s revocable trust. Although you are the sole beneficiary, you would like a consultation regarding your obligations as trustee and possible tax consequences for the estate and yourself.
  • The only asset in the decedent’s sole name is a car and you need to probate the estate only to sell or transfer title.

tax and creditor issues

  • The decedent has a taxable estate.
  • The decedent did not file his personal tax returns, or did not pay taxes he owed.
  • You know or suspect that the decedent has creditors.
  • The decedent left debts and few liquid assets.
  • The decedent has known creditors and you’d like to negotiate a settlement.
  • There is a possibility that post-mortem elections may eliminate any estate tax liability.
  • The estate has income or capital gains or losses that can be passed through to the beneficiaries at lower marginal tax rates.
  • The decedent died owing money to you or your business and you need to file a claim against the estate to collect.

asset issues

  • The decedent owned an interest in a partnership, LLC or corporation.  Frequently, unwinding a business interest needs to be done carefully in order to avoid tax complications down the road for the beneficiaries and even for those remaining in the business.
  • The decedent’s assets are difficult to appraise, sell, or transfer: a business interest, artwork, copyright, patent or trademark.
  • The decedent has contract or tort claims against others.
  • The decedent had a medical, dental, legal, or other professional practice.
  • The decedent owned real property in more than one state.
  • You find out that your recently deceased father put $2 million in his best friend’s cousin’s real estate “investment.”

other situations

  • The decedent left assets but no will.
  • There are questions re the validity of the will or trust.
  • You know the decedent had assets or heirs that you can’t locate.
  • The beneficiaries disagree on the distribution or valuation of the assets, such as  the jewelry and family heirlooms, or the family home or beach house.
  • You are a beneficiary and the personal representative or trustee is not making distributions in a timely manner, or offering sufficient information regarding the decedent’s assets.
  • Your uncle, a life-long hoarder, has died, and you are now in charge of the physical and legal mess.

We give you a roadmap to guide you through the administration of the estate

  • A detailed checklist to refer to throughout administration.
  • Specific instructions for the transfer of assets.
  • Deadlines for probate, trust, and tax purposes.
  • You will always have direct access to your attorney to answer your questions and concerns promptly.

how we charge

We are keenly aware that many trust and estate administrators are either beneficiaries themselves and/or have undertaken a responsibility that comes with a fiduciary duty to the estate or trust requiring them to get value for your dollar. We make it a point to focus our time and energy on the issues that will affect our client and take pride in the value that we offer to our clients.  Our focus is in completing the task to achieve the best possible result for our client and resulting the beat value to the estate or trust.  We don’t pretend that doing so is inexpensive, but we take great pride in the value that our clients achieve from our knowledge, expertise and often creative solutions.

  • With lawyers like you, who needs angels?  Your real rate is far beyond what you billed me. With continued awe at your abilities.