Estate Administration Attorney Scottsdale Arizona
Our Estate Administration Attorney in Scottsdale Arizona has the expertise to assist you will all of your Estate Planning needs.
Information About Settling an Estate
Generally, a personal representative, or executor, is an individual named in a will or appointed by a probate court. This individual is also responsible for closing out the decedent’s estate, which includes, but is not limited to, paying off the decedent’s creditors and distributing estate assets to the appropriate beneficiaries. Also, depending on the size of the estate, the personal representative’s responsibilities can become overwhelming.
Again, if you have been named personal representative and need assistance, allow us to help you through this difficult time. Generally speaking, below are just some of the legal services we offer.
- Administer probate
- Administer small estate affidavit
- Locate, inventory, and arrange for an appraisal of personal property
- Assist with locating, create inventory, and arrange for an assessment of real estate
- Collect life insurance proceeds
- Manage the assets until time for distribution
- Open a bank account in the estate’s name
- Negotiate and settle any valid claims against the estate
- Obtain a tax ID number for the estate
- File income tax returns
- Oversee the distribution of assets to beneficiaries
How to Avoid Probate
Probate is a legal process in which the probate court accepts jurisdiction over the assets of a person who has passed away. The probate court oversees the payment of your debts, taxes, and probate fees then will play an active role in distributing the remainder of your assets to your beneficiaries or the statutory heirs if there is no will. We could avoid the probate process if the deceased person had a legally drafted estate plan, including a Trust. Although a trust may avoid probate, a successor trustee administering the Trust will always be needed.
Children frequently believe that their parents planned adequately because they had a will, a properly funded a trust, or had designated specific individuals as beneficiaries on their bank accounts.
Duties of the Trustee
Unlike a probated will, a trust is a private document and need not become part of the public record at your passing. Although a trust may avoid the court process, there is still a substantial amount of work to administering a trust or an estate governed by a will. Successor trustees and personal representatives must always take steps to administer their duties. For example, beneficiaries must be contacted and kept notified; the trustor’s assets gathered and invested; their debts paid; potential creditors notified; taxes filed and paid; assets and income distributed in compliance with trust stipulations to beneficiaries, etc.
Successor trustees often lack the time, resources, or knowledge to personally administer the Trust and, therefore, call upon legal, accounting, and investment professionals for assistance. We assist with the following duties:
GATHER, CONTROL AND MANAGE ESTATE ASSETS.
Personal Representatives or Trustees have to gather and control all assets that belonged to the decedent at the time of their death. After the valid debts and expenses are paid, they have to distribute any remaining assets according to the decedent’s Will or Trust, if there is no Will, to the decedent’s intestate heirs.
Personal Representatives and Trustees are fiduciary. Being a fiduciary means they have a legal duty of undivided loyalty to the beneficiaries and the estate’s creditors.
PROTECT ASSETS. Personal Representatives and Trustees must immediately find, identify, and take possession of the estate assets and make proper arrangements to protect them.
INVENTORY ASSETS. The Representative or Trustee must prepare an inventory or list of the decedent’s probate assets and their values as of the date of death. The inventory must be mailed to all heirs, devisees, and other interested persons who have requested it.
STANDARD OF CARE. In administering estate assets, Personal Representatives and Trustees must observe the care standards applicable to a trustee, including the prudent investor act.
KEEP DETAILED RECORDS. Personal Representatives and Trustees must keep detailed records of all receipts and expenses of the estate. They are required to provide an accounting of their estate administration to all persons affected by the administration.
PAY VALID DEBTS AND EXPENSES.
They must determine which claims and expenses of the estate or Trust are valid and should be paid. They must provide to any creditor whose claims are not allowed prompt written notification that they will not be paid or will not be paid in full.
It is the personal representative and successor trustee’s responsibility to ensure that all taxes are paid and that all tax returns for the decedent and the estate are prepared and filed.
DISTRIBUTE REMAINING ASSETS.
After payment of all the estate or trust debts and expenses, they must distribute estate assets as directed in the Will or Trustor.
CLOSE THE ESTATE OR TRUST.
After the complete distribution of the estate or the Trust, the estate or Trust must be closed.
If you need an Estate Administration Attorney contact us online or call our Scottsdale office directly at 480-478-0040 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout the state of Arizona.