If you have started working on your own estate plan, then you have heard about probate and non-probate assets. Your estate planning lawyer has probably given you advice on how to keep as much of your property out of the probate court as possible, so that the beneficiaries will be able to receive the property more quickly and will not need to pay as much in taxes. Setting up a trust is an effective way of conveying assets to your family or favorite charities after you die, even if you are not fabulously wealthy. Now let’s think about probate and trusts from the perspective of the personal representative of the estate, whose main task is to follow the instructions left by the decedent. Even if the decedent meticulously articulated their estate plan, settling an estate is a big job; the good news is a Texas probate and trust administration lawyer can help.
What Do Probate Lawyers Do?
During probate, the court wraps up any unfinished business related to the decedent’s finances and then distributes the remaining money to the beneficiaries. In Texas, the estate must remain open for six months, to give adequate time to notify creditors and other “interested persons” (people who have reason to believe they should inherit money from the decedent) and evaluate any claims they present. Unless there is only one beneficiary, then the named representative or heir MUST hire an attorney to represent them to administer the estate as the courts in Texas view that as acting pro se and as such you can only represent yourself.
What Do Trust Administration Lawyers Do?
The assets in a trust pass to the beneficiaries outside of probate, but administering a deceased person’s trust is not always simple. Sometimes locating the beneficiaries and conveying the property to them takes considerable effort. You might need to sell real estate properties that belong to the trust, which can easily turn into a “you cannot please everyone” situation if several family members stand to benefit from the proceeds of the sale. Likewise, if the decedent did not properly fund their trust, you as a trustee will be contending with a messy situation. Likewise, disputes can arise over trust assets just like they can over probate assets. If a deceased relative has named you as a trustee of a trust that they set up, the best way to resolve the disputes and complications that can arise in connection with the trust is to hire a Texas trust administration lawyer.
Contact Hailey-Petty Law Firm, PLLC About Trust Administration
The best way to avoid costly mistakes related to probate and trust administration is to hire a trust administration lawyer before problems arise. Contact Hailey-Petty Law Firm, PLLC in Austin and San Antonio, Texas to discuss your case.