After a death, the probate process or the trust administration process must take place to transfer assets belonging to the deceased. Unfortunately, going through either process can be stressful, especially when coping with grief. It’s important to have the right legal help to make sure that whatever process you are involved in goes smoothly, especially because there is an inheritance at stake.
Kuhn & Kuhn is here to help. Our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team will work closely with you to make sure the probate process or the trust administration process goes as smoothly as possible so the assets of the deceased are protected and so heirs or beneficiaries inherit as quickly as possible.
Give us a call today to find out about the personalized assistance we can offer with the estate planning process and to get answers to questions you may have about probate and trust administration including:
- How do the probate process and the trust administration process work?
- Who should have legal help during the probate process or the trust administration process?
- How can a Charleston probate or trust administration lawyer help you?
How Do the Probate Process and the Trust Administration Process Work?
Both the probate process and the trust administration process have certain similarities, as each process is designed to ensure that heirs or beneficiaries are properly notified of asset transfers. When the probate process begins or the trust administration process begins, the executor of an estate in probate or the trust administrator in the trust administration process should provide notice to interested parties.
During both the trust administration process and the probate process, the validity of estate planning documents – like the last will and testament or the trust – must be determined. The executor of an estate and trust administrator must also be in charge of managing assets left by the deceased, and must take steps to comply with tax rules. And, in both processes, legal steps must be taken to formally transfer assets to designated heirs or beneficiaries who are going to become the new owners of those assets as a result of the death.
However, there are major fundamental differences between trust administration and the probate process. While the probate process takes place in court, and thus makes personal affairs public and is costly and time consuming, the trust administration process does not have to take place before a judge unless problems occur. The trust administration process is much quicker, much less costly, and much more private, as long as no serious problems arise.
Who Should Have Legal Help During the Probate Process or the Trust Administration Process?
Although the trust administration process can be simpler and more streamlined than the probate process, both the trust administration process and the probate process are formal legal processes and parties involved in these processes have obligations.
For example, both the executor of an estate and the trust administrator are in charge of managing assets left by the deceased and both are expected to behave with the utmost of integrity and propriety in managing those assets. If an executor of an estate or a trust administrator fails to comply with the rules and enriches himself or herself personally, serious consequences can result.
Because a trust administrator or an executor of an estate have a lot of responsibility during the trust administration process or the probate process, both the administrator and executor should be represented by an attorney. A lawyer can provide insight into their obligations and can help to carry out the formal legal processes of trust administration or probate.
While the executor of an estate and the trust administrator have the most responsibility during probate or trust administration, they may not have the most at stake. Would-be heirs or beneficiaries who stand to inherit have a big stake in the probate process or the trust administration process because these processes determine when and how the beneficiaries are able to inherit. Because it is their money at stake, heirs or beneficiaries should have a lawyer advising them on the probate process or the trust administration proceedings and should take appropriate steps to protect their interest as needed.
Finally, anyone who wishes to contest a will or contest a trust should have a lawyer as well, as contesting estate planning documents is difficult and you’ll need a strong advocate to help you put together a solid case.
How can a Charleston Probate or Trust Administration Lawyer Help You?
A Charleston probate or trust administration lawyer can provide assistance to those whose loved ones have passed and who are going through the probate process or the trust administration process. We can advise you on your rights and help to ensure that nothing during the process has an adverse impact on your inheritance. Give us a call at 843-577-3700 or contact us online today to find out more.