We are sorry for your loss. We understand that after the death of loved one, family members are uncertain about how to proceed. Probate is a court process for managing and distributing a deceased person’s property. Probate is necessary to transfer title if the asset was owned in the deceased’s name alone, even if they signed a Will. It can take many months and requires many formal documents to be filed with the court. Karen gently guides family members and friends who are serving in the role of personal representative (sometimes called an executor) and helps them navigate probate court rules and requirements. Our experience ensures that the administration of your family member's estate is done correctly and efficiently.
When a person dies leaving a valid trust, a Trust Administration is necessary to carry out the decedent's wishes. The successor trustee is responsible for the administration of the trust and distributing the assets to the named beneficiaries. The Trustee has an obligation to protect the trust assets and the interests of the beneficiaries. The basic duties of a Trustee involve the collection, management, investment, and distribution of trust assets. Karen assists the Trustee with these tasks. It is also important to keep detailed records as well as prepare an accounting, an inventory, and possibly obtain appraisals. Another important set of duties relates to tax matters. It may be necessary to prepare a federal estate tax return, an income tax return and possibly a fiduciary tax return. Karen helps the Trustee determine if a tax return is necessary.
If a Trustee exceeds their Trustee powers, they may be held liable for loss or damages to the trust assets. A Trustee must carry out all Trustee activities personally. We recommend that a Trustee consult with an attorney and other professionals concerning the administration of the trust. Such advisors are usually paid from the assets of the trust, so there is normally no out of pocket costs to the Trustee. Karen works with the Trustee and beneficiaries to have the trust administered in an efficient and professional manner. She provides peace of mind to the Trustee by making sure the terms of the trust agreement have been satisfied. If you have been appointed as a Successor Trustee or are currently acting as a Trustee, contact Karen for assistance in fulfilling your fiduciary duties.