Managing a Will in Probate
Probate is the most common means used to transfer property from the decedent to beneficiaries absent a comprehensive trust. The probate process can be a tedious and laborious process. It requires careful examination of the will and a complete a full accounting of assets and the distribution thereof in order to execute the wishes of the decedent in a manner consistent with the will. The executor or administrator will be charged with the responsibility of properly distributing the property to designated individuals, while complying with the rules of the applicable probate court. This can be a daunting and overwhelming task for an individual without specific legal knowledge of the probate process, especially after the loss of a loved one. There is no reason for you to go it alone when you have caring, competent and capable counsel in our law office.
The probate process can be broken down into four basic steps:
- Opening up the estate, which consists of filing a petition in the appropriate probate court to administer the will.
- Notifying any potential heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, and debtors of the testator’s passing.
- Using estate assets and finances to pay any outstanding debts or taxes once controlled by the testator.
- Distributing the remaining portions of the decedent’s estate according to the will’s provisions.
It is important to have a valid, enforceable, and unambiguous will so as to facilitate an efficient transition of property from the decedent to his heirs. A properly drafted will minimizes the chance of the will being failing for procedural reasons and it decreases the possibility of an unwarranted contest. Ideally, properly developed estate plan consisting of both a will and trust, minimizes the state and federal tax implication, depending upon the size of the estate. Accordingly, it is important to draft a final will with an estate planning attorney. Our St. Louis estate planning lawyers at Law Offices of Christopher Bent, LLC can help with both the creation of wills and the management of probate, even if litigation is needed to solve a serious dispute in probate court.
Legal Guidance for Trust Administration
Just as a trust is decidedly different from a will, so is trust administration different from probate. The administration of a trust does not need to go through court. A trust administrator will be tasked with reviewing a trust and taking all appropriate steps to fulfil the wishes or orders within it. In most cases, the trust administration process solely focuses on the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
Trust administration can be beneficial in that it often resolves in a much shorter time frame when compared to taking a will to probate court. Also, without a court involved, court fees are nonexistent, making trust administration often less costly. However, a disadvantage of trust administration is also the lack of the court’s presence. If something goes wrong and someone contests the trust, it can create a seriously complex and sensitive legal situation that may require a highlyexperienced estate planning attorney to resolve.
One Law Firm for All Estate Planning Needs
The Law Offices of Christopher Bent, LLC is capable of managing probate and trust administration cases for clients who do not have the time, energy, or interest in acting as administrators. Since we have more than 15 years of legal experience with a focus on estate planning, you can have confidence that our St. Louis probate and trust attorney will move everything forward according to plan, on-time, and while upholding your best interests.
While we often encourage clients to allow us to handle everything, giving them peace of mind and room to relax, we make a point to send routine case updates as matters develop. You will not feel as if you are in the dark as probate and trust administration procedures advance. This is just another way St. Louis Attorney Christopher Bent puts his clients’ priorities front and center.