Probate, Estate, and Trust Administration

Coping with the loss of a loved one can be difficult.

 

Settling the loved one’s final affairs can be particularly unnerving in a time of already strained emotions.  Estate Administration involves handling a loved one’s final affairs and typically requires collection of assets left behind, payment of bills and taxes, and finally the transfer of remaining assets to those entitled to them.

The instrument that disposes of property and the person in charge of such property can vary.  Whether it be the Personal Representative of a decedent’s estate, the Trustee of a trust, the surviving joint owner of property, the payable on death beneficiary, or a combination of the same, we will coordinate all facets of the decedent’s final affairs to ensure that all tasks are completed timely.

Having personally handled the final affairs of our own loved ones, we understand this experience can be emotional and overwhelming.

 

Navigating it on your own can feel like just too much after losing your loved one.  We use our personal experiences along with our years of assisting family and friends to make the process as painless as possible and take the brunt of the burden away from you.

After the death of a loved one, their Estate Plan dictates the next steps. If a Will exists, probate may be required.

Trusts, on the other hand, bypass probate, potentially simplifying the process and maintaining privacy. Even if only a Trust is in place (without a Will and therefore no probate), we can assist the Trustee in managing the Trust.

 

Estate Administration

My business is a part of me. I celebrate my clients’ achievements, and I suffer through their losses with them. They are getting a full investment out of me when they hire me. I enjoy working with folks, learning more about them, and not just focusing on the situation.

Jeffery D. Stinson

Certified Elder Law Attorney

What to Expect from Stinson Law Firm

 

When you meet with us, we will carefully examine your situation and recommend the proper legal processes.   Too often, the process of settling a loved one’s final affairs can cause even more stress and strife within a family.

We are always sensitive to these issues and will be fair and compassionate as we proceed to resolve your loved one’s final affairs as expeditiously as possible.  We assist with:

 

  • Collecting life insurance policy proceeds
  • Determining and paying inheritance taxes
  • Figuring out and paying estate and income taxes that may be due
  • Identifying all estate assets
  • Making final distributions after paying all bills and taxes
  • Opening and managing the estate’s checking account
  • Paying debts and final bills
  • Preparing and filing all court documents
  • Retitling assets in beneficiaries’ names

Begin Your Legal Journey

1. Call, Email, or Submit a Contact Form.

Our intake specialist will follow up with you to gather some additional general information and schedule a meeting with an attorney.

2. Legal Planning Questionnaire.

To assist in preparing for your appointment, we ask that you complete a Planning Questionnaire at least five (5) days in advance of our appointment.  Returning the questionnaire ahead of your appointment allows us to deliberate on the issues and potential solutions available to you before your meeting. It also allows us to get directly to the heart of the issue that brought you to us, rather than expending a good deal of time during your meeting reviewing data.

3. Initial Consultation.

The initial meeting will focus on your circumstances, your concerns, your goals and the legal options you have to address your concerns. At the initial meeting we will quote you a fixed or estimated fee for the projected legal work. If you decide to proceed, a partial fee payment will be due at the conclusion of the meeting. There is an initial consultation fee of $395 payable at the time of the initial meeting. 

4. We Get Working for You!

Your legal team will advise you whether an estate needs to be opened with the court, what type of estate is needed, and if it will be supervised or unsupervised. Your legal team will draft all the documents necessary to obtain authority to access the decedent’s assets.

5. Marshalling of Assets.

The personal representative will need to determine what assets belonged to the deceased individual. Your legal team will assist with preparing an inventory of assets as of the deceased’s death and closing and re-titling of accounts.

6. Creditor Claim Period.

In an estate opened with the Court, any known creditors will need to be notified and a schedule of creditors created. Your legal team will help review and verify the validity of any of the decedent’s debts.

7. Final Accounting and Distribution.

Your legal team will review the administration of estate accounting and file it with the court if necessary. We will ensure final taxes for the decedent and estate are filed. Once all expenses of administration have been paid, we will assist the personal representative with the distribution to beneficiaries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to pay my deceased parents’ debts?

When a person dies, his or her estate is responsible for setting debts. By law, family members do not usually have to pay the debts of a decease relative from their own money. You generally can’t inherit debt from your parent unless you co-signed for the debt or applied for credit together with the person who died.

What happens if my parent dies and has no will?

When someone dies without a will, a surviving spouse or adult child usually has priority to open a probate matter as the administrator of the estate. Any of the deceased’s property with a beneficiary designation can be transferred directly to that named beneficiary. This includes property with a transfer-on-death deed and any trust assets. Any assets in the sole name of the deceased without a designated beneficiary are probate assets.

Do I need “Letters Testamentary”?

Not always. Indiana law provides that if the decedent’s probate assets are less than $100,000, no estate administration is required. In such situations, the beneficiaries of the asset can submit an affidavit in lieu of Letters Testamentary.

What is Probate? Do I have to go to court?

Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate. A probate asset is an asset that is in an individual’s sole name and has no beneficiary designation. Indiana law provides that if the decedent’s probate assets are less than $50,000, no estate administration is required.

Still have questions?

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