Collins Law Group provides comprehensive assistance with the probate process as well as with the trust administration process. Both processes, when triggered after death, create significant legal responsibilities. We help to ensure executors and trustees fulfill those responsibilities and that heirs and beneficiaries inherit property in a timely manner.
To learn more about the trust administration and probate assistance we provide within the greater Los Angeles area, give us a call at (310) 677-9787. The representation our legal team offers to clients is customized to your specific needs, and we’ll give you personalized one-on-one advice throughout probate and trust administration. We can also provide answers to some of the general questions you may have including:
- What is involved with probate in California?
- What does trust administration involve in California?
- How can an Los Angeles probate and trust administration lawyer help?
What is Involved with California Probate?
The probate process takes place in the county where the deceased owned property. Typically, a person named as executor of the estate will initiate the process by filing the appropriate paperwork with the court. Heirs named in the will are notified, as are creditors and other interested parties. An opportunity is provided wherein creditors can assert claims against the estate. The will is validated to determine if it is in compliance with legal requirements. If necessary, appraisals are obtained to value the estate, and estate taxes are assessed. At the close of the process, assets are transferred to new owners.
Throughout the California probate process, the executor has a fiduciary duty to manage all of the deceased’s assets and to act in the best interest of beneficiaries named in the will. The executor will also be in charge of taking care of applicable tax issues and facilitating the valuation of the appraisal. Because the fiduciary duty is the highest duty one person can owe to another, executors must ensure they fully understand their obligation. Collins Law Group can provide representation to executors.
If heirs or family members of the deceased believe there is a problem with the will, the issue is addressed in probate. Family members can dispute the validity of the will or argue there is another controlling will which should be probated. Our legal team provides representation to those who wish to contest a will, and we fight hard to make sure that an invalid will does not result in the deceased’s property being improperly distributed.
What is Involved with California Trust Administration?
Trust administration is different in many ways than probate, although the end goal is the same. Both trust administration and probate are formal processes used to facilitate the orderly transfer of a deceased person’s assets after death. However, while the probate process involves court oversight throughout the process, trust administration does not.
Trust administration occurs when the deceased had created a trust. The trustee is named in the trust creation document, and will be responsible for overseeing all of the trust administration process. This can include filing tax returns and taking care of tax issues, notifying interested parties of the deceased’s death and of the trust provisions, and taking formal steps necessary to transfer ownership of trust property to new owners.
Trust administration steps can vary depending upon the type of trust, as well as depending upon the instructions which were included as part of the trust document when the trust was created. However, like an executor during probate, a trustee has a fiduciary responsibility. A failure to effectively manage trust assets and to distribute assets as directed to new owners could have serious consequences for the trustee who mismanages money or otherwise fails in his duty.
While there is no judge overseeing the entire trust administration process, as there is in probate court, family members and heirs of the deceased could potentially pursue a case in court against the trustee if it is believed the trustee is not doing his or her job correctly. There are safeguards in place to ensure trustees respect the wishes of the deceased during the trust administration process.
How Can a Los Angeles Trust Administration and Probate Lawyer Help?
Collins Law Group will represent executors, trustees, heirs, and beneficiaries throughout the probate and trust administration process in the greater Los Angeles area including Inglewood, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Torrance, and surrounding areas. To learn more about how our legal team can offer guidance and representation throughout the process of transferring assets and winding up an estate, give us a call at (310) 677-9787 or contact us online.