When it comes to a loved one passing away, no one wants to think about how to divide up assets. It is the hope that everyone will have an updated will or trust that outlines the trustee, or the person who will be left in charge of the estate, with directions on how all property and other assets should be split up. However, this is not normally the case, and even when it is, it’s important to have an estate administration attorney to help the trustee with the process of managing the loved one’s estate. Being the trustee of an estate can be a daunting task, especially if there are other family members or loved ones who believe they deserve something more or different than what was left to them. Many times, these family members will contest the will or trust to try and win what they believe they deserve. There are also numerous rules and protocols that must be followed correctly. Any mishaps can lead to legal issues that will have a lasting effect on the estate.
An estate administration attorney is a lawyer who helps assist an estate administrator by advising them on their obligations. These attorneys help them through the involved process of dividing up assets and property. They also help with any unknown valuing of property, help create a distribution plan, and prepare any accounting that may need to be done. Estate administration lawyers also help educate family members about probate, file any legal forms, prepare tax returns, and any other line items one may need help with in terms of an estate, will, or trust.
Probate fees are set by one of California’s probate codes. They are determined by the value of the estate. Estate values are typically determined by the estate’s executor, along with the assistance of appraisers. They conduct inventory on any property or assets and determine their exact monetary value. California courts do not consider debt to offset the value of an estate and instead take the gross value of the estate as the actual value. This is important to remember if a loved one is in debt when they die. For ordinary services, Pasadena estate administration lawyers follow California’s statutory fee schedule as follows:
The attorneys also typically charge hourly rates and additional flat fees for any extra work that they may need to do for a particular case. The more complex the case, the more likely you are to have more rates and fees.
Probate is a term that describes the legal process of reviewing a deceased person’s assets and determining inheritors. Most probates are based on the will or trust of the deceased person. To avoid the mounting costs and complexities that can come with probate and probate attorneys, it is best to have an easily accessible trust or will.
While both attorneys work very close together in the California area of law, a probate lawyer deals with the process of probate after a person has passed away, whereas an estate lawyer generally deals with setting up wills, trusts, and other documents while a person is still living. Upon a person’s death, their property and assets, together known as their estate, must be valued and divided up among family and other loved ones. When a will is in place, a probate lawyer acts more as an advisor. However, when no will is in place or when someone contests a will, a probate attorney’s job becomes much more complicated. In California, when no will is in place, the person’s estate will be divided up according to the state’s intestacy laws. This usually leads to some contests or other cases because many family members will argue that this is against the wishes of the deceased. This is why it’s important to have a will in place because unless there is a will or trust, the court does not have proof of the wishes of the person. When there is no will in place, it is best to have an estate attorney help you and your family through the process.
Whether you choose the route of a will or a trust, it is important to have your affairs in order before you pass away so your estate will be handled according to your wishes. A will is a legal document that lists how you want your assets distributed and affairs handled after you die. On the other hand, a trust is a document that states the arrangement you wish to have for your affairs after your death. This means a trustor will give the trustee, who is a person of your choice, the right to hold and manage your assets. A trust can have timelines as well, meaning you can give your trustee a certain amount of time to do something with your estate, or they can last a lifetime.
Whether you are planning ahead or have just experienced a death in your family and need legal advice dealing with an estate, will, or trust, Pasadena estate administration lawyers of Robert G. Petrovich, Attorney at Law, are here to help. We can help you with your estate planning, assist in navigating the probate process, review your loved one’s assets, analyze the value of assets, or address any concerns you may have about your loved one’s estate. Contact us today to schedule a private consultation.
Based in San Marino (near Pasadena), Mr. Petrovich handles estate planning, probate, business law, real estate, and other legal matters throughout the San Gabriel Valley.