Have you been named a beneficiary of a trust or a will? Has a loved one passed away without a will and you need help figuring out the next steps?

We can help. Our compassionate and experienced attorneys understand what a confusing and difficult time this can be and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

What is the difference between estate administration and probate? Are they the same thing? Which applies to my situation?

Probate and estate administration are both processes by which a decedent’s property is passed to a named beneficiary or lawful heir. Everyone has an estate. Some people give directions about what to do with their property after their death in an “estate plan”, and some do not.

Each state has its own set of laws governing how to accommodate a person’s estate plan or lack thereof. The Probate Court supervises both probate and estate administration.

If the person had a will, the will goes through probate and the executor named in that will is responsible for ensuring the property goes to the named beneficiary. The entire process usually takes about a year. This is easier, quicker, and less expensive for the court and for families because the decedent left detailed instructions on what to do with his or her property.

On the other hand, if a person dies without a will, the person’s property is distributed according to state rules. These rules are called “intestate succession laws” and can vary greatly. These rules try to find the lawful heirs to the property and an administrator to properly distribute the property (like an executor). This can quickly become complicated, costly, and confusing without some help from an experienced professional.

Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult enough without the added stress of navigating the complicated probate and estate administration process.

We can help you with every aspect of probate and estate administration, including:

  • Locating and gathering all estate property and assessing its value;
  • Collecting investment income (e.g., dividends, stocks, etc.);
  • Determining proper payment methods for claims, debts, or taxes against the estate;
  • Preparing estate tax returns; and
  • Distributing property to beneficiaries and heirs.

We understand what you are going through during a difficult time. Our skilled and dedicated team of professionals will guide you through the process compassionately and efficiently.

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