Our Probate Administration Practice – Serving Scottsburg, Scott County, and Southern Indiana
If you have been appointed to serve as a personal representative (also referred to as executor or administrator) for an estate or as a successor trustee of a living trust, you may be serving in this position for the first time. You may have many questions about what needs to be done, how to fulfill your legal duties, and what actions can or should be taken.
We have helped personal representatives and trustees in hundreds of probate estates and trusts in all aspects of probate and trust representation. We will be there to answer your questions, provide guidance, and take on much of the work associated with the probate or trust process.
The Basics of Probate
Probate refers to the process of managing an estate and disposing of assets after the death of a loved one. The probate process generally includes:
- If the decedent had a will, meaning the decedent died “testate”, filing the will with the court, and having the personal representative appointed.
- If the decedent did not have a will, meaning the decedent died “intestate”, applying to the court for the appointment of the personal representative to administer the estate.
- Accounting for all assets of the estate, and managing such assets until the probate process is completed (such as making mortgage payments for a house out of the estate assets)
- Determining who is entitled to inherit estate assets (whether through a will or by intestate succession)
- Discharging (paying) all debts of the decedent that are proper
- Taking any required legal actions
- Transferring assets to the estate beneficiaries after all debts have been discharged
- Filing final tax returns
Each estate will be unique, so sometimes there are other actions that need to be taken in addition to those noted above.
In cases where a will does not require a supervised estate or in the case where a will does not exist (referred to as “intestacy”), we often work with personal representatives and administrators and family members to agree to what is known as an “unsupervised estate”, which can be a much faster and less expensive probate process, because the court is not directly involved in the supervision of the estate. Since unsupervised estates are less expensive to administer in the probate process, more assets are left to beneficiaries.
The purpose of a Living Trust is to avoid as much of the probate process as possible and authorize distribution of the assets of the deceased person to the beneficiaries of the Trust in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Although Living Trusts are not submitted to the court for probate, there are still many responsibilities of the trustee that are similar to the responsibilities of a personal representative in an estate. We are prepared to assist the trustee in the administration of the trust and distribution of assets to the beneficiaries.
Let Us Help You Administer the Estate or Trust
We provide trusted, experienced, and affordable representation. Call us to find out more how we can assist you during this difficult period.