When it comes to legal issues, death can be as complicated as life. While legal clients often do not know when or what types of legal issues will arrive in their life, they do know that one day they will die and leave their estate behind. Once they die, their estate must be taken care of. Like most things in life, this process can be much easier on those you love if you plan for it. Some planning on your part can ensure that your wishes are followed after you are gone and that your family receives what is rightfully theirs without legal hang-ups. The best way to plan for this time in the future is to hire a seasoned estate and trust attorney.
The process of estate and trust administration involves federal and state laws, intense emotions of family members, and the wishes of those that have passed on. It takes a skilled attorney to step into this area of law. Estate and trust administration attorneys handle a plethora of matters in this complex division of law, including handling modifications, settlement agreements, changes of trusteeship, and many other matters pertaining to the administration of irrevocable trusts. They also offer services such as:
After the death of a loved one, the administration of their trust or estate is often the last thing on the minds of the family. Having an experienced and compassionate guide and advocate during the potentially emotionally draining process can make a substantial difference between confusion and a logical transition.
Trust administration is the management of the property in the trust in accordance with the trust’s terms. It is done for the benefit of the named beneficiaries after the death of a loved one. Trustees will benefit from working with an attorney who helps facilitate this process, ensuring that everything is done according to the law and the wishes of the decedent. A trust can address tangible property such as real estate and valuables, but it also entails financial accounts and investments.
Estate administration can be a daunting task, especially for grieving family members with no previous exposure to the process. We can assist after the loss of a loved one to ensure that their estate plans are carried out to specification, or, in the absence of a plan, to ensure that Virginia’s intestacy law is correctly followed.
Probate is the process by which the circuit court in the city or county where someone dies oversees the settlement of that person’s estate. Probate can be necessary when a deceased person has a will, or when they die intestate (without a will). The purpose of probate is to effectuate the transfer of a deceased person’s assets in an orderly process with oversight and accountability for the parties impacted. Unfortunately, probate involves fees and multiple steps that can become quickly overwhelming for those unfamiliar with the process. If you are a fiduciary (executor or administrator), we can guide you in navigating the requirements of probate.
A properly administered probate estate or trust estate nearly always involves fiduciary accountings, submitted to the court, the beneficiaries, or both. Accountings are the means by which the actions of fiduciaries are judged, so it is critical that they be accurate, follow the proper form, and include all supporting documentation. We can provide pointers to fiduciaries who wish to prepare their own accountings. Alternatively, we can prepare the accountings ourselves to ease the fiduciary’s workload.
When preferred by clients, we can serve as Executor, Administrator, and/or Trustee. We can also serve as Trust Advisors or Trust Protectors, adding an additional layer of flexibility and protection to trusts (particularly irrevocable trusts).
At Mahoney & Richmond, PLLC, we help our clients navigate all of the estate and trust administration processes with minimal stress. Our estate and trust lawyers have decades of experience with helping families through transitions after the death of a loved one. We have the knowledge to ensure estates and trusts are administered as the law and decedent intended as well as the compassion to preserve family relationships. Contact us today to schedule your estate and trust administration consultation.