The probate process is the court proceeding that is designed to provide for the passing of a deceased person’s estate to his or her heirs. The process is complicated and technical and requires specialized knowledge.
An experienced attorney will help guide your through the process that involves
- Submitting the Will to the court.
- Submitting the Petition for Probate to the court properly completed.
- Gathering the assets and records of the decedent.
- Sending all of the required notices.
- Obtaining the court order that officially appoints and empowers the Executor.
- Dealing with creditors’ claims.
- Preparing an inventory of the estate.
- Assisting with sales of property.
- Providing an accounting to the court and to the beneficiaries.
- Distributing the estate.
These are just a few of the many tasks involved in a probate. The complexity depends on a number of factors including, the size of the estate, the nature of the assets (real estate, apartments, businesses, etc.) the size and nature of the debts and claims, and many other factors. An experienced attorney can guide your executor through this maze of legalities.
Trust settlement is the process of performing the tasks necessary to carry out the instructions of a trust when the creator of the trust dies. The process has some similarities to a probate in that the assets must be accounted for, debts must be settled, properties sometimes sold, and the assets distributed to the beneficiaries. The primary difference is that the involvement of the court, with all of its built-in delays and sometimes unnecessary procedures, is not required. The court is available to resolve disputes but that is rarely necessary. Because the process can be handled privately, it is generally less expensive. But the assistance of an attorney is still necessary to properly advise the trustee as to how to legally carryout his or her responsibilities. With larger estates the process can still be daunting.