Use this form if you wish to schedule an Estate Administration Consultation with attorney Robert P. Bergman. This includes both Trust and Probate Administration. This consultation will be 1-2 hours, as needed, and is charged at my current rate of $500.00 per hour, with a minimum of one hour.
If a loved one dies and has a revocable living trust and/or an irrevocable trust in place, generally there is no need for any administration through the Probate Court. However, if there is no living trust holding someone's property, then Probate administration will be necessary if the deceased person (i.e. "the Decedent") had a Will or had no Will at all.
Administration of a Decedent's living trust or estate after they die follow the same basic steps as the Probate process, but without involvement of the Probate Court in the case of a living trust. Every trust or Probate administration is unique, but most involve the following steps:
What happens if someone objects to the Decedent's Trust or Will?
The Successor Trustee takes over the trust, or a Personal Representative for the Decedent is appointed by the Probate Court
Notice is given to the Decedent's heirs
Asset of the Decedent's trust or estate are gathered together and valued
Debts of the Decedents are paid from the trust or estate's property
Sales of trust assets may be made
Estate taxes are paid, if applicable
Final distribution is made to the heirs, either outright or in some form of trust
Rarely, someone objects to a Trust. Similar to a Will, in order to contest a Trust, a person has to have legal "standing to raise objections. This usually occurs when, for example, children are to receive unequal shares of property under the Trust, or when distribution plans change from a prior Trust to a later Trust.
How much does Trust or Probate Administration cost, and how long does it take?
The cost and duration of a trust administration can vary substantially depending on a number of factors such as the value and complexity of the estate, and the quality and completeness of the trust itself. Ambiguities in the drafting of the trust document can require a trip to the Probate Court to have a judge decide what the trust means. Property left out of the trust name at death may also cause a trip to the Probate Court to have the property declared as part of the trust, or even to force the property through the Probate process in order to get it transferred into the trust.
The cost and duration of a Probate administration depends on the value of the Probate estate, and legal issues that may arise during administration.
Many of the same steps are taken in trust administration as in Probate administration. However, the steps can be done in the comfort of your attorney's office and accountant's office.
With a well-drafted trust, a trust administration can generally be completed in 3-9 months, depending on complexity and issues that may arise during administration. Fees for trust administration are based on a percentage of the size of the estate, and whether or not you are an existing client of the firm. As an alternative, trust administration can be charged on an hourly basis, which is often less expensive.
Probate administration will typically take 1-2 years, and is usually more expensive than trust administration.
After you have scheduled your Trust or Probate Consultation, you will receive an email with a link to download an Estate Administration Packet, and instructions on how to prepare for our meeting.
I look forward to meeting with you.
Robert P. Bergman, Attorney at Law