Roseville Decedent Estates and Trust Administration Lawyer

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Roseville Trust Administration and Estates Attorneys

Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult, and handling the details of trust administration and estate settlement can be complicated. Knowing how the process is carried out is essential to ensuring your loved one’s wishes are carried out and your rights are protected.

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

Why Is the Administration Process Necessary?

When an individual passes on, it is necessary to follow through with a detailed process and adhere to specific protocols to settle the estate they have left behind. One of the most important parts of this process, for example, is retiring their Social Security number to prevent identity theft. It is often beneficial to consult a lawyer who specializes in this field and knows the proper tools to use when transferring assets to beneficiaries. This helps guarantee that the process goes as intended and the costs and taxes are minimized. These attorneys use tools such as rights of survivorship, probate, beneficiary claims, Heggstad petitions, and small estate affidavits to carry out the process.

The main reason for estate administration is to ensure the transfer of a decedent’s assets in an orderly fashion. It doesn’t matter if the individual left a very large estate or a meager one; it is still important to settle things properly. The process must be completed whether there is no will, a written will, or a trust.

To properly administer an estate, an official person must be designated legally to handle all the details involved. Terms that are used to describe this individual include personal representative, fiduciary, and executor. This fiduciary is necessary because there must be an individual who is authorized to sign for the decedent and transfer their assets. When a person dies with a will, this individual is known as an executor. When there is no written will naming an executor, the process is carried out by an appointed personal representative called an administrator. This person handles the responsibilities of locating the decedent’s assets, conducting a thorough inventory of the assets, and having necessary items appraised.

Responsibilities of an Executor of a Will

The first thing an individual must do when they are named as the executor of a will is to file with the county’s probate court where the decedent passed away. The probate court determines if the will is valid and handles any litigation involving challenges to it. Once that is done, the executor must administer the estate based on the terms laid out in the will. They must contact creditors who are owed money and beneficiaries who are to receive assets. One of the most important tasks to keep up with is obtaining receipts and keeping exact records of expenses and items paid from the estate.

When a creditor makes claims against an estate, it falls on the executor to pay off the debts using the assets of the estate. They must have an accurate inventory of the assets, even those not listed in the will. This is important because those assets must also be distributed in accordance with the state’s intestacy laws. Expenses that are owed to attorneys, creditors, accountants, and other entities resulting from the probate process must be paid from the estate’s assets before the remaining amount is distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries. The difficult task of ensuring that all assets are distributed according to the decedent’s last wishes is the executor’s job.

Each of the following details of settling an estate must be taken care of on an individual level.

Managing Estate Assets

  • Access. The fiduciary must gain access and control of all the assets belonging to an estate or trust.
  • Tangible items. Individuals often leave valuable personal property such as collectibles, jewelry, automobiles, artwork, and furniture to their estate. If this is the case, a professional appraiser may need to be consulted to determine the items’ value.
  • Finances. Accounts such as securities and bank accounts must also be valued when they are part of an estate.

Paying Debts and Expenses

  • Paying creditors. If a decedent has unpaid bills, the fiduciary must ensure that they are paid when they settle the estate. In addition to bills the individual left behind, expenses incurred during the probate process must be paid.
  • Avoiding personal liability. If the executor doesn’t properly protect an estate’s assets, they may be held personally responsible in some instances.
  • Filing taxes. An estate administrator must file the decedent’s tax returns and those related to the estate.

Handling Bequests

  • Expenses first. The executor’s top priority is to ensure that expenses are paid before distributing cash or property to any beneficiaries. These expenses may include taxes, debts, and costs associated with the probate process.
  • Seeing to bequests. Once the decedent’s expenses and debts are paid, the fiduciary may distribute the gifts and cash that the decedent specified in their will to the beneficiaries. If there are remaining assets in the estate, they may then be distributed.

Trust Administration

  • Trust income versus principal. If a decedent has placed funds into a trust, the terms of the trust determine the principal and income.
  • Overseeing taxes. When an individual is administering a trust, they must be sure to provide every taxable beneficiary with a Schedule K-1 each year for income tax purposes. They must also file income taxes for the trust.
  • Investing. While handling a trust, the administrator must invest, based on the state’s prudent investor rule, while abiding by the terms of the will or trust.

Estate Closing

After an executor has paid all a decedent’s final taxes, bills, expenses, and debts and distributed all the assets associated with the estate, they may gain clearance from the estate and the IRS and close the estate. If there is a trust involved, it may be terminated when the beneficiary passes away or when they reach a determinant age. In some cases, a court petition may be necessary to distribute remaining assets and close the estate. A knowledgeable estate and trust administration attorney is an integral part of the process.

They can prepare a legal document for all beneficiaries to sign, indicating that the terms of the will or distribution of assets have been properly satisfied. Once all these obligations are settled, the fiduciary must finalize everything by filing a final income tax return and paying the last expenses and estate taxes. For more help, contact a Roseville trust administration and estate attorney from our firm.

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.