Placer Decedent Estates and Trust Administration Lawyers

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Placer Trust Administration and Estates Lawyers

When an individual dies, the grief alone can be overwhelming, not to mention the stress of handling the complicated details of estate settlement and trust administration. Being informed of the probate process is the best way to protect your rights and carry out your loved one’s wishes.

Placer Trust Administration Lawyer You Can Trust Call (916) 827-3427

Reasons for the Administration Process

Upon an individual’s death, it is necessary to complete an estate settlement process and follow specific guidelines to properly distribute the estate they have left. This should always start with retiring the individual’s Social Security number, as failure to do so opens the door for identity theft. Lawyers who specialize in estates and trust administration are valuable consultants, as they know the best tools for properly transferring assets. With their resources, it is easier to ensure that costs and taxes are minimized, and things go as planned. Some of the tools they use include small estate affidavits, Heggstad petitions, beneficiary claims, probate, and survivorship rights.

Transferring the decedent’s assets in an orderly way is the main reason for estate administration. This is true no matter how humble or grand the decedent’s estate is. It is a process that must be completed properly, regardless of whether there is a will, a trust, or no will at all.

For an estate to be properly administered, an individual must first be legally designated to take care of all the details. This administrator may be called a fiduciary, an executor, or a personal representative. It is necessary to name this person so that someone is legally authorized to transfer a decedent’s assets and sign their name. If a decedent has named this person in their will, they are called an executor. If there is no will after an individual dies, a personal representative is appointed to handle these responsibilities. The administrator must fulfill many duties, including conducting an inventory of a decedent’s assets, locating said assets, and having items appraised to determine their value.

The Executor’s Responsibilities

As an individual embarks on settling an estate, the first step they must take is to file in the probate court of jurisdiction where the decedent passed away. This court will determine whether the will is valid and handle any litigation necessary to resolve challenges to the will. When that is determined, the executor will administer the estate according to the terms of the will. This involves contacting creditors the decedent owes money to and beneficiaries who are named. It is vital to keep detailed records and all receipts during this process.

If creditors have claims against an estate, the executor must pay these debts with the estate’s assets. It is important to have a complete inventory of the decedent’s assets, including those not in the will. Such assets must also be distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws. When there are expenses incurred during the probate process for services such as accounting, appraisal, and legal services, they must also be paid out of the estate assets before the remainder is distributed to beneficiaries. The job that an executor takes on to ensure that these assets are distributed properly is often complicated.

The following estate settlement components are specific details that must be handled individually during estate settlement.

Estate Assets Management

  • Asset access. The administrator will need to gain access to and control of all assets that belong to an estate.
  • Tangible property. Some of the most valuable components of an estate often include tangible items like furniture, artwork, automobiles, jewelry, and collectibles. In cases such as this, an appraiser may be necessary to determine their value.
  • Financial resources. Securities and bank accounts are the remaining items that must be valued as assets to an estate.

Paying Expenses and Debts

  • Handling creditors. When an individual dies with unpaid bills, they must be paid with the assets of the estate. The executor must also use these assets to pay expenses incurred during the probate process.
  • Liability issues. An executor must properly protect the estate’s assets; otherwise, they could face personal liability.
  • Tax responsibilities. A fiduciary is responsible for filing tax returns related to an estate, as well as the final tax return for the decedent.

Bequest Distribution

  • Take care of expenses. An executor must prioritize paying off costs associated with the probate process, as well as debts and taxes, before they begin distributing any property or cash to the decedent’s beneficiaries.
  • Satisfy bequests. After the expenses a decedent owes are paid, the administrator may distribute the cash and property that was left in the will. Any remaining assets after these tasks are completed may be distributed as well.

Administering a Trust

  • Knowing principal and income. The terms of a trust will dictate the income and principal from the funds a decedent has placed in trust.
  • Trust taxes. An administrator must provide taxable beneficiaries with yearly Schedule K-1 forms for their income taxes and file income taxes on the trust.
  • Trust investments. Investments that an administrator makes for a trust should be based on the terms of the trust, the will, and the state’s prudent investor’s rule.

Closing an Estate

When the administrator has settled all debts, taxes, bills, and expenses associated with a decedent’s estate, they may seek clearance from the IRS and the state to close the estate. When there is a trust in the estate, it may be terminated when the individual named in the trust reaches a specified age or passes away. In some circumstances, the administrator may need to petition the court to distribute any assets that remain before the estate can be closed.

It is recommended to have an experienced trust administration and estate lawyer who can draw up legal documents for beneficiaries to sign, indicating that they are satisfied with the administrator’s actions and that they have received their assets. After all this is complete, the executor may then file the final income tax return, being sure to reserve the necessary funds to pay any remaining estate taxes or expenses.

For questions or concerns regarding your estate, talk with an experienced Placer trust administration and estates lawyer. We can help you through every step of the process.

Why Choose McCunn Law

Our methods for handling business owner divorce and family law issues are unique. We offer legal assistance for a range of family law cases, including:

Mr. McCunn specializes in a holistic, project management approach which empowers you to make your own decisions throughout the process. He has a reputation as a peacemaker and his honest and pragmatic attitude towards divorce and other family law issues ensures you only pay for the services you need during your case.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.