Experiencing the death of a family member, close friend, or loved one is never an easy time. Managing the legal process that follows is often very difficult, especially for people who have no experience with it.
Dealing with probate and trust administration is never something you want to do alone. You need the advice of experienced attorneys who know what the legal realities are and who can provide you guidance and assistance in your time of need.
When someone dies leaving behind property, that property has to be distributed to new owners. This is what the probate process is all about. Whether someone dies leaving behind a last will and testament or dies without leaving behind any estate planning tools at all, the probate process addresses what happens to estate property.
The probate process essentially works in a series of simple steps. The first step occurs when someone goes to a probate court and notifies the court that a person has died. The court will then appoint someone to manage the left behind property. The manager, called an estate administrator, executor, or personal representative, has the responsibility of finding out what kinds of property were left behind, whether there are any estate debts, and who the legal inheritors are. The estate representative will also have to make sure to act in accordance with all appropriate state probate laws.
Other probate cases involve people who have not died. These “living probate” cases often involve people who have become incapacitated and who need someone else to step in to manage their personal and financial affairs.
A revocable living trust is one of the most useful, and widely utilized, estate planning tools available to most people today. By creating a revocable living trust, people can effectively avoid much of the probate process. However, after someone who creates a living trust dies, someone else will have to come in to manage all of the property owned by the trust. That person will also have to ensure that the trust property is distributed to new owners in accordance with the trust terms.
This process is known as trust administration. Every state, including North Dakota and Minnesota, has laws that apply to the trust administration process. Whether you want to take over the management of a trust, are unsure how to distribute property, or are faced with any other issue, trust administration is something with which the German Law Group has extensive experience.
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You should never try to navigate the probate or trust administration process on your own. Not only are there several different forms of probate, but the legal requirements involved can be rather complicated. Whether you need legal advice, have probate or trust administration questions, or are facing an emergency, you should contact our offices immediately.