While Estate Planning is the design and documentation of the game plan, Probate or Trust Administration is putting the game plan into action.  The process normally starts when you or your spouse becomes incapacitated or passes away.  If you have a will-based estate plan, a Probate or County Court will formally appoint someone to be in charge of implementing the terms of your estate plan.  Under normal circumstances, that “someone” has been nominated by you in your will, medical power of attorney, declaration of guardian or other documents.  This person is called your executor/administrator or agent.  With the Court’s supervision, he or she will provide a detailed inventory, pay your debts, file tax returns and, ultimately, distribute your property to those recipients identified in your estate plan.  The necessity of probating an estate or facilitating the appointment of a guardian generally occurs at a time when family members are under emotional strain due to your incapacity or death.  I and my staff are dedicated to providing your loved ones support and assistance during these difficult times. 

A living trust is a legal document that, just like a will, contains your instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. But, unlike a will, a living trust can avoid probate at death, control all of your assets and prevent the court from controlling your assets if you become incapacitated. Upon the death of a trust maker, I offer legal services to your successor trustee. The successor trustee is responsible for seeing that the assets of the trust are distributed properly and in a timely manner. I am available to assist your successor trustee in the process of administration, including:

    Review of the trust document
    Gathering of all trust assets
    Explanation of trustee responsibilities
    Estate tax analysis
    Collection of death benefits
    Creation of sub-trusts
    Distribution of trust assets and dissolution of the trust