Probate, Estate and Trust Administration

What happens to your estate when you pass away is largely dependent on actions you take now. Having a valid will in place, establishing a trust, and finding a good estate lawyer to help you, makes an enormous difference in what happens with your assets after you pass away. It is important to work on your estate planning now to avoid having people making decisions for you that you may not want.


What is Probate?

In the State of New York, wills must go through a legal process called probate. In probate, the courts verify the validity of the Will and ensure that the estate is managed and distributed as stated in the will. An executor will be named by the courts.  Once an executor is appointed, this person will notify creditors and heirs about the assets in the estate and make payments and distributions of your estate. 

The executor is responsible for taking inventory of the estate and obtaining any required appraisals to accurately establish the value of certain assets, such as vehicles, art, or jewelry. They will file the final tax return for the deceased person and pay any taxes owed. Once the taxes and creditors are paid, the executor distributes any remaining assets to the named heirs and charities. 

Depending on the size of the estate, the remaining liabilities of the deceased, and the validity of the will, the probate process can become quite complicated. An experienced probate attorney will guide and advise you throughout the probate process, which could take anywhere from six months up to a year or more. Your attorney can help you locate resources, such as appraisers, realtors, or financial advisors. The American Bar Association recommends hiring a probate administration attorney to guide you through. 

The probate process is meant to protect you and your assets, as well as ensure, through a court-supervised process, the administration of your estate and transfer of your property pursuant to the terms of your will. Your attorney can explain what your beneficiaries should expect and advise you on the best ways to preserve your estate and work with your executor after you pass. 


Trust Administration

If you created a trust during your lifetime, following your death, there will be a trust administration by your appointed trustees. 

Taking inventory of the estate is one of the major responsibilities of the trust administrator. If this step is not done correctly, it could affect the value of assets. The more assets the estate has, the more complicated the process becomes. A trust administration attorney makes certain this is done correctly and completely, and within the time limits allowed. 

Once inventory is taken and the value of the assets complete, the amount of taxes owned by the estate must be determined and paid before beneficiaries receive any assets. Owed taxes must be paid within a specific period of time, as set forth by the State of New York. 

In the case of married couples, protecting the assets of the deceased spouse from estate taxes while the remaining spouse is still alive, is a major benefit of establishing a trust. Cara Law will explain exactly how this works and how it works to protect your estate.

Distributing your assets as they are laid out in your will is the obligation of the trust administrator. This person must follow your instructions and not do as they wish. A trust administration attorney ensures that your wishes are being followed. 

Protecting your assets and ensuring that your beneficiaries receive what you want them too can be accomplished through establishing a trust. Trust administration and probate can be a lengthy process. Tax laws, debts owed and proper distribution of assets must be done correctly. The whole process may become quite stressful for your family members, even if you feel like you have everything in order. Having an attorney establish a trust for your estate can save your family undue stress, protect your family’s privacy, ensure your assets are protected and that all tax obligations are satisfied. Cara Law is an experienced probate and trust administration attorney who will keep your best interests in mind at all times. Set up a consultation with us today to learn more about trusts and protecting your assets. 


Small Estate Proceedings

A small estate, also known as a voluntary administration, happens when an estate involves less than $50,000 in personal property. Dealing with a true voluntary administration is a relatively simple process, however there are factors, such as if the decedent owned real property, and if there was a will that can easily change a voluntary administration into a more complex proceeding.   A competent probate and trust administration  attorney, such as Cara Law, can determine if the estate falls under the voluntary administration guidelines, or if it should be filed as a different type of proceeding. 

If there are any pending lawsuits around the decedent, such as a wrongful death case, seeking the guidance of an estate attorney is highly advised. Cara Law’s probate attorney services for trust administration, probate and small estate proceedings are very affordable. Get in touch with us today to set up your consultation.

Intestate Proceedings 

“Intestate” means to die without a will. When a New York resident dies without a proper will in place, the intestacy law in New York gives the surviving spouse the entire estate, if there are no living children or other descendants.  If there are living descendants, then the surviving spouse inherits the first $50,000 of the estate. The remainder of the assets are then divided, with 50% going to the spouse and the other 50% being equally divided among the decedent’s descendants. 

If there is no surviving spouse, children or grandchildren, the estate is given to distant living relatives of the decedent. The absence of a will means that the assets are under the control of the State of New York and are divided up according to the established laws. If the decedent had expressed the desire to donate part of their estate to a favorite charity or exclude a family member from receiving anything, without the presence of a valid Will, their wishes cannot be carried out. 

When it comes to Wills, probate, and trust administration, planning ahead and having an excellent estate planning attorney, such as Cara Law, can protect your estate, your assets, and your family. By working with Cara Law, you will ensure that your obligations are met, estate taxes are paid, and that your beneficiaries, including charities, receive the maximum possible amounts. 

In addition to this, having a plan in place will save your family undue stress, avoid the possibility of someone contesting your Will and will help protect your family’s privacy.  Cara Law offers affordable estate planning and trust administration services in New York. Our attorneys will answer your questions, advise you on setting up a trust and make sure you understand what the process looks like. Planning is better than procrastinating!  Set up your free consultation today. 

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