The primary goal of probate, estate and trust administration is to transfer assets from the deceased to the intended beneficiary. It is also to ensure that creditors are satisfied.
The process of transferring assets after a death is more complicated than many people are aware. The property of the deceased does not automatically transfer to its new owners. A formal process called probate typically must occur first. If the deceased had created a trust, the trust administration process may also be necessary. These process can be complicated, and hard for you to understand as you are also trying to cope with the grief over a death of someone in your life.
Pyke & Associates, P.C. has administered literally thousands of estates. We have an entire department dedicated to assisting clients through the complex maze of administering the estate of a loved one. Our Georgia firm provides representation to Executors, who are given the responsibility to oversee the probate process, as well as Trustees vested with responsibility for trust administration. Give us a call today at 770-507-2500 to find out what an Atlanta probate, estate and trust administration lawyer can do for your family and to get answers to important questions including:
- What is probate, estate, and trust administration?
- Do I need a lawyer to help me during probate or trust administration?
- How can an Atlanta trust administration and probate lawyer help?
What are Probate, Estate, and Trust Administration?
Probate is the most common process by which a person’s assets are transferred after the person has passed away. It occurs when an executor files paperwork with the probate court in the county where the deceased resided. The executor named in the will by the deceased is charged with the responsibility of carrying out the terms of the will. If there is no executor named, or if the executor cannot take on the responsibility, the probate court can appoint a personal representative.
The executor or the personal representative has many different responsibilities during probate. First and foremost is to determine what the deceased owned. The next responsibility is to determine what the deceased owed. Once creditor claims are satisfied and final tax returns are accounted for, then distributions can be made to the intended beneficiaries.
The property of the deceased has to be cared for and managed carefully to protect its value. The executor or personal representative files all court paperwork, provides notice to potential heirs and people named in the will, notifies creditors of the death, pays bills from the estate, files tax returns as required, obtains an assessment of the estate’s value, and finally facilitates the formal transfer of assets. The larger the estate, the more complicated the process can be.
Trust administration is a similar process by which a person’s assets are transferred. However, the process works differently. If the deceased’s assets are titled in the name of the trust or name the trust as beneficiary there is no probate on those assets. Trust administration happens only if the deceased created a trust, and the process is overseen by the trustee named in the trust creation document. It does not go through the courts, but it instead is handled in a timely and effective manner by the trust administrator. The trust administrator has similar responsibilities as an executor of a will, to protect assets and facilitate their transfer to new owners. Estate and trust beneficiaries can take legal action against the executor or the trustee if they do not comply with all legal requirements.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help During Probate or Trust Administration?
Well, you don’t know what you don’t know…until someone tells you. Because an executor or trustee is personally liable to creditors and beneficiaries if such administration is not handled properly this is not a good legal area to “do it yourself” or use legal counsel who does not do it all day, every day. There is simply too much at stake.
Both the probate and trust administration process can have many complexities. From confusion over what court documents must be filed to issues related to changing title or paying taxes, issues can arise which require professional legal advice.
Executors and heirs are obliged by law to act in the best interests of beneficiaries or heirs and to protect the value of the assets under their control. Those who have been put into these positions of power should strongly consider getting legal help so they can successfully meet their obligations to the deceased and heirs. If you are an executor or administrator, Pyke & Associates, P.C. can provide guidance throughout every phase of the probate or trust administration process.
Pyke & Associates, P.C. also provides representation to others with an interest in the probate or trust administration process as well. If you are an heir, a beneficiary, or a family member of the person who has passed away, we can provide you with guidance and represent your interests as your loved one’s assets are distributed. We will make sure you can oversee the probate or trust administration process and protect your inheritance. If you are concerned about the potential that a will or trust is not valid or worried a trustee or executor is mismanaging trust assets, we’ll also assist you in taking action.
How can an Atlanta Trust Administration and Probate Lawyer Help?
Pyke & Associates, P.C. has a long history of helping clients with probate and trust administration in Atlanta, Peachtree City, Stockbridge, and surrounding areas in Georgia. Give us a call today at 770-507-2500 or contact us online to find out more about how our legal team can help you to protect the legacy of the people who you care about.