Probate & Trust Administration

The Probate Process

When someone passes away, their estate will typically go through a court-managed process known as probate. Probate allows for all assets of the deceased to be managed and distributed to pay off debts before passing on to any beneficiaries.

To completely settle the affairs of one's estate, not only are assets distributed, but debts are paid and there is an opportunity to resolve remaining questions or legal conflicts that might arise. While every probate case is unique, most involve the following:

  • Locate a Will
  • File a petition with the proper probate court
  • Notify heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors
  • Manage the estate
  • Perform an inventory of assets
  • Liquidate assets
  • Pay debts, estate taxes, if applicable
  • Final distribution of assets
  • Close the estate/resolving any remaining conflicts

The probate process can be complicated, lengthy, and expensive. The larger the estate, the more complex the case likely is and the more help you're likely to need. Anyone who has been named to execute or administer the estate should contact a probate and trust administration attorney as soon as possible.

Distributing Assets

The distribution of assets can happen in a few different ways, including the transfer of title, specific beneficiary designations, or through probate and trust administration. Securing a strong legal advocate in your corner early on will help ensure a smoother process in the probate or estate administration process.

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What Should You Do When a Loved One Passes?

When you lose a loved one, generally your focus is appropriately on family, grieving, and coping with the loss. While you process the many overwhelming feelings associated with such a loss, there are still financial and legal steps required to settle the decedent’s affairs. How will their assets be distributed, debts settled, dependents cared for, etc.? Whether or not you work with an attorney can make a big difference in how the responsibilities of the estate are carried out.  

Trust Administration

If a relative with an established trust dies, it’s important to understand that, unlike a will, State law still has a role in how the trust operates. The trust administration process involves many of the same steps as probate but tends to be a lot more efficient and cost-effective. With a trust in place, there are fewer reporting requirements and less-involved court oversight when it comes to settling an estate. A trust in certain circumstances can actually protect assets from the probate process. However, similar to probate, any owed debts of the estate must still to be paid and the trustee is responsible for distributing the assets according to the trust instructions.  

In order to avoid disputes or further conflicts, it is best to administer a trust under the guidance of an experienced attorney. You can count on me to handle your case with compassion and keep you informed during the complicated processes of probate and trust administration.

Probate & Trust Administration Attorney in North Tustin, California

When you find yourself coping with the loss of a loved one, it's important to have reliable legal counsel in your corner so that you and your family can focus on what matters. Allow me to take on the complex burdens of the probate and trust administration processes, and guide you on what actions need to be taken and when.