Experienced Probate And Trust Administration Services
If you are here to learn what to do after the passing of a loved one, we first want to say that we are very sorry for your loss. Hopefully the information that you find on this page will simplify any legal or administrative headaches that you might otherwise face during such a difficult time.
Our Role—Support During A Difficult Time
At The M Firm, we know that it is the role of an experienced probate attorney to make the process smoother, ensuring that the deceased person’s wishes are carried out and that legal matters are handled correctly. Probate is the legal process of transferring assets after someone passes away. Probate is also necessary to prove the validity of a Will (Wills have no meaning unless they are probated), appoint someone to manage the estate, pay the deceased’s debts and taxes, and distribute the estate property.
Whether your loved one has left a Will, a Trust, or no plan at all, we can help in several ways:
- Guidance with:
- Complex legal decisions
- Filing the Will and navigating the probate court system
- Getting Letters issued giving the executor authority to act
- Ensuring that minor beneficiaries are taken care of
- Settling the Estate
- Handling Trust Administration
- Asset Distribution:
- Ensuring that assets are distributed according to the Will or Trust, or if Decedent’s wishes are unknown, according to state law
- Debt Resolution:
- Assist in managing and settling outstanding debts
- Helping with potential tax issues.
- Helping you to streamline the process, potentially saving time and reducing stress for the family during an already difficult time
If Your Loved One Left A Trust
If your loved one left a Trust, it may not be necessary to have the Will probated. (State law does require that the Will be turned over to the probate clerk, regardless of whether it is “probated” or not.) If the Decedent has ensured that all assets were properly put into the Trust, either by title or by beneficiary designation, Pay on Death designation (POD) or otherwise, then the Will may not need to be probated.
What Assets Are, Or Are Not, Subject To Probate?
Typically, assets owned solely in the name of the deceased person are subject to probate.
Assets in a trust, assets titled as “joint tenants with right of survivorship,” assets with beneficiary designations naming an individual or a trust, and assets with a “transfer on death” (TOD) or “pay on death” (POD) are not subject to probate and pass by operation of law to the designated person. We call those “non-probate assets.”
There are some situations where an asset that would normally pass by operation of law is subject to the probate process. Please call us if you have questions about your specific situation.
What If There Is Not A Will Or A Trust?
If a Decedent has not made their wishes known, then state law will dictate who receives what. This is referred to as intestacy, and in some situations the dynamic can be quite complex. The property may not go where you think it should, particularly if the Decedent was part of a blended family, there have been several deaths in the family, or there are minor children involved.
Resolving Your Administration Needs Quickly And Efficiently
If you are trying to manage the needs of probate or trust administration, do not do it alone. When you are ready to meet with a lawyer to discuss settling a loved one’s estate, contact us by calling 817-479-0076 or emailing us here to schedule your initial consultation today. We look forward to providing you with the guidance and experience you can count on.