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Estate Administration Services

Estate Administration Services

Probate

In general, if a person owns assets when they die that were not held in a trust and for which there was no joint owner or beneficiary designation, the institution where those assets are held (e.g., bank, investment company, etc.) will only transfer or release the assets at the direction of someone with letters testamentary (a.k.a., letters of personal representative). “Letters testamentary” is a term used to describe a document evidencing that a certain person has been appointed by a court to administer a deceased person’s estate. That person is known as the “personal representative.” Probate is the process by which a person submits an application to the court requesting to be appointed as personal representative and, if approved, receive letters testamentary.

If you are designated to serve as personal representative in a will and you are feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Although most cases fall into the simplified “informal” probate process, which is easier than the “formal” probate process, this can be complicated if you’re not familiar with the court system or managing the various details of someone else’s property. Especially if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to make sure you’re doing it right, the risk of liability alone can be a heavy burden to bear.

Now the good news. In most cases, a will authorizes the personal representative permission to use the estate assets to hire legal counsel for assistance in administering the estate. An experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the court system, understand and comply with your statutory duties, answer questions from beneficiaries, and guide you through the entire process, helping you steer clear of common pitfalls that can lead to disputes and leave you open to liability.

 

Trust Administration

A general misconception about trusts is that the administration of a trust is easy because it doesn’t require probate*. While it is true that avoiding probate simplifies the trust administration process, the work of a trustee can still be overwhelming for estates with a variety of assets or beneficiaries that are not close family members, among many other scenarios. In situations where all the beneficiaries have a strong relationship and everyone is in agreement, the administration of a trust can be a smooth process. However, even smooth cases still involve a degree of managing, accounting for, and distributing the property in compliance with the terms of the trust and state laws, and in a way that will not create disputes among the beneficiaries.

Whether you are dealing with managing a complicated assortment of assets, mediating the communications and issues between disagreeable beneficiaries, or just want some help to make sure you’re doing everything right, seeking legal counsel can reduce the administrative burden of a trustee. As stated above regarding wills, most trusts authorize the trustee to use the trust assets to get help from legal counsel in fulfilling their duties. An experienced trust administration attorney can assist you effectively manage the various steps of administering a trust.

See our pages for additional estate administration services, such as heirs and beneficiaries, trustee and fiduciary services, as well as legal counsel for guardianships and conservatorships.

*A trust must be properly “funded” in order to avoid the necessity of probate.

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Review:
" My husband and I went in to meet Matt after being recommended by another attorney. We went in not knowing much about estate planning. He taught us so much, he’s..." read more
- Bailie
 
Review:
"Professional in every way!..." read more
- Marc Payne
 
Review:
"I worked with Matt in 2015 to help me understand and administer my father’s trust. I needed reliable and honest expertise in Arizona since I reside in a neighboring state...." read more
- Tamora
 
Review:
"Creating a Living Trust is a difficult task and can be very challenging. I had the pleasure of working with Matt who not only took the time to explain everything,..." read more
- Tanya
 
Hadfield Law Firm, PLLC 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.
Hadfield Law Firm | Preserving your legacy - Building your trust | Lehi, UT
5 out of 5 stars My husband and I went in to meet Matt after being recommended by another attorney. We went in not knowing much about estate planning. He taught us so much, he’s very patient and caring and willing to answer endless questions and to explain things we knew nothing about. Our experience with Matt made us feel prepared and reassured that he will continue to be there for us when we need help. We also felt our purchase was a great deal and he offered different payment options. And again he could have tried to upsell us and get us to spend more money for “important” reasons and never tried that once. I would absolutely hire Matt again and I’m so grateful we met him and got to achieve our goals with an honest and helpful person.
Hadfield Law Firm | Preserving your legacy - Building your trust | Lehi, UT
5 out of 5 stars Professional in every way!
Hadfield Law Firm | Preserving your legacy - Building your trust | Lehi, UT
5 out of 5 stars I worked with Matt in 2015 to help me understand and administer my father’s trust. I needed reliable and honest expertise in Arizona since I reside in a neighboring state. Matt’s experience and guidance was instrumental in helping me understand and execute the trust. He assisted me every step of the way, explaining and re-explaining (when necessary), administering paperwork, and providing references to contractors and service providers so that I could complete tasks quickly. I am grateful for his counsel during my time of need. I would fully recommend Matt and his team for anyone needing estate or trust assistance.
Hadfield Law Firm | Preserving your legacy - Building your trust | Lehi, UT
5 out of 5 stars Creating a Living Trust is a difficult task and can be very challenging. I had the pleasure of working with Matt who not only took the time to explain everything, but also explained various options in an effort to accomplish what I needed. He is a great communicator, explains things well, and listens to your needs. He's very professional with a warm personality, maintains his commitments and is very knowledgeable in his field. His honesty and desire to assist provided me comfort and made me feel very satisfied with the overall outcome. I highly recommend Matt for any estate planning you might be considering. His qualifications and performance are truly excellent.