Miner & Lemon, LLP

Probate/trust administration

When a loved one passes away it can be difficult to pick up the pieces, and the process involved in probating a will or administering a trust is complicated and can result in penalties if not done correctly. That is why you need an attorney who is caring and who understands the complexities of probate and trust administration.

There several steps that you can take to make the process less difficult. First, get through the funeral services. The death of a loved one can be a very distressing time. Do not neglect your own emotional health. Second, verify that the funeral home has or will contact Social Security and the Veterans’ Administration, if applicable, of the death of your loved one. Ask the funeral home if they will be sending the Death Certificates to you or if you will need to pick them up from the funeral home and when. Third, while you are waiting to receive the Death Certificates, you should locate your loved one’s estate planning documents. Fourth, keep a ledger and receipts for money you may have spent towards funeral or other expenses, but do not rush to pay bills without first talking to an attorney. Fifth, if your loved one lived alone, you should secure his or her residence and begin collecting mail.

Also, during this time you should contact an attorney and make an appointment. The attorney may be one of your choice - there is no requirement that it must be the same attorney who prepared the Will. Take the Will, Trust documents, and other important papers to the attorney to
determine if it will be necessary to open an estate or administer the Trust. Please remember that even though the Last Will and Testament may nominate a Personal Representative (also sometimes referred to as Executor or Administrator), that person is not authorized until he or she is appointed by the Court, which requires documents prepared by an attorney.

If the deceased person passed property by a method outside a Will, such as by way of joint ownership of real estate or through a Trust, some legal action may be necessary to transfer the ownership of record. Also, whether there was a Will or Trust, or not, there may be inheritance or estate taxes due within nine months after the date of death. These are documents and forms that an attorney will prepare and file for you. Even if your loved one did not have a Last Will and Testament, it is still very important to follow these steps and contact an attorney who can determine what is necessary. Your attorney will advise and guide you through the process of estate administration or the process of transferring property when no estate is necessary.

Our attorneys have years of experience with probate and trust administration, and have worked with dozens of families to properly administer estates. If you are searching for experienced, client focused, and timely representation with probate or trust administration, we hope that you will contact us. We look forward to serving your legal needs.

​​Attorneys at law