Probate and Trust Administration

Probate Administration

Probate is a court-supervised process for distributing the individually owned assets of a deceased person. Assets are distributed to beneficiaries in accordance to the instructions written in the person’s will.  The probate process begins upon the death of the individual.  Upon death, the individuals designated in the will of the decedent must step into action and administer the estate according to the instructions in the will and according to the specific and detailed requirements of the California Probate Code.

Probate administration can be complex and the people you have designated must have competent and experienced counsel to guide them through the process. They must make important decisions, sometimes quickly, and they need help to make them wisely. They need to prepare inventories of your property, maintain detailed financial records, collect income, pay bills, prepare tax returns, sign important documents on your behalf. Ultimately they must divide and distribute your property to those individuals or charities you identified in your will.

The probate administration process carries a lot of responsibilities. We can help guide your loved ones through the process as sensitively and completely as possible, and will make it as straightforward and efficient as possible.

Trust Administration and Settlement

When a creator of a trust, known as a “trustor” or “settlors”, passes away the family and loved ones find themselves in a situation in which they may not know what to do next.   They are faced with questions like:

  • What does the person named as “Successor Trustee” have to do?
  • How have the surviving beneficiaries been provided for in the trust?
  • When can the beneficiaries named in the trust receive their distributions?
  • Are there death taxes to be paid?  When are they due?
  • How will the Successor Trustee find all assets the trustor owned?
  • How does the Successor Trustee take title to those assets?
  • How will the Successor Trustee deal with any creditors?

So many questions during a time meant for mourning. So many questions during a time when the future seems uncertain and what was once familiar is suddenly never the same again.

It is during this confusing and challenging time that the dedicated team of attorneys, paralegals, and specialists at Slater Cosme, PC guide clients every step of the way through the maze of settling and administering their loved one’s trust.

At Slater Cosme, PC:

  • We fully answer your questions.
  • We empower you with knowledge regarding your duties and responsibilities as Successor Trustee of the trust.
  • We educate you regarding important deadlines for payment of estate taxes, making disclaimers, and submitting required notices to government agencies and beneficiaries.
  • We review the terms of the trust and advise you to ensure that the wishes of the trustor are implemented properly.
  • We help the Successor Trustee inventory assets and take control of those assets so that he or she can pay estate expenses, costs of administration, and prepare to make distributions to the beneficiaries.
  • We prepare the necessary documents, to assist the Successor Trustee to properly settle a trust including notices, reports, letters, inventories, real property transfer deeds, assignments, tax related applications and filings, and accountings.
  • We dispel the common misconception that a trust settles itself automatically by showing the Successor Trustee that he or she needs to take steps to actively settle and administer the terms of the trust.  Inaction on the Successor Trustee’s part, or a failure to receive expert legal and tax advice, could lead to serious negative consequences to the estate and the trust beneficiaries.

Since every trust administration is different, each with its own specific issues, it is extremely important to obtain proper legal advice and assistance when settling a trust.

The legal team at Slater Cosme, PC, specializes in the administration and settlements of trusts and will work closely with you to make sure that you receive expert legal advice every step of the way.

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