Losing a loved one is difficult enough without the added stress of having to settle your loved one’s estate. At Stockton & Stern, LLC, we help families with the legal processes involved. If your loved one created a will, the family may have to go through a process called probate. If your loved one had a properly funded trust, the family will go through a process called trust administration. These two processes can overlap, and there may be additional issues to deal with. Our lawyers are here to provide caring representation every step of the way.

The probate process

Probate is the process by which the estate of the deceased is inventoried and distributed according to the decedent’s will or state laws. Important features of probate include court oversight at every step, complete control of creditor claims and the provision of a legal forum for complaints. It is important to remember that probate is a process. Like any process, if one steps back, takes an overview of the procedures involved, breaks the whole into manageable parts and works with qualified legal assistance from our attorneys, the end can usually be reached quickly, efficiently and economically.

In addition to probate, we handle all estate administration tasks. Even if the probate process is not necessary because your loved one created trusts, we can provide guidance to ensure essential matters are handled correctly.

Trust administration

Many people believe that once a trust has been properly designed, implemented and funded, the trust maker’s wishes will be carried out “automatically.” This is not the case. A trust must be properly administered to accomplish its goals.

At Stockton & Stern, LLC, we can help with all aspects of the trust administration process. For example, we will review the trust to ascertain the directions involved, and assist with final tax returns, inventory, and distributions. If you have been named as trustee, we can explain the duties and responsibilities to you, as well as the risks involved. Trustees can suffer severe financial penalties for improperly administering a trust, even if the mistakes were unintentional. If you decide to serve as trustee, we can guide you every step of the way. If you would rather not take on this responsibility, we can help you choose the ideal person to do so.

Contact us today for a free consultation. You are not alone during this difficult time.