Probate and Trust Administration
Appropriate estate planning requires putting a will or trust in place; whether you successfully meet the goals represented by those documents will be determined by their execution.
Execution of your estate plan requires a responsible party to collect the estate's property, represent the estate to your creditors and the government, and do so while interacting with your beneficiaries and balancing their needs. That responsible party will either be selected by you or the state. For this reason, your selection of a qualified Executor or Trustee is vital to any estate plan.
Probate is the legal process used to wrap up the estate of a person who has died. The process involves the collection, inventory, and appraisal of assets; handling of will contests and estate disputes; filing and payment of estate taxes, payment and collection of debts; and the distribution of remaining estate assets to rightful beneficiaries.
The complexity of the probate rules is determined by the size of the estate and the beneficiaries to a lesser extent. Kentucky law permits the district court to dispense with formal administration of the estate for small estates (those valued at less than $30,000) and passing to a surviving spouse, surviving children, or preferred creditor. Given Kentucky’s low threshold, most estates will likely be required to go through general probate.
I can help you understand which type of probate proceeding is necessary and help you complete the components of the process. Probate can be an emotional, time-consuming, and expensive process, particularly if the decedent did not have a will or had a poorly drafted will. A knowledgeable probate attorney can help guide you through the process.
Trust administration can be complex and confusing. When you establish a trust, the named trustee must manage and distribute the trust’s assets. Many people choose family members or loved ones to administer their trusts, even if the selected individual is financially inexperienced or has a vested interest in how trust assets are distributed. Such an appointment often places the trustee in an uncomfortable position vis-à-vis the other family beneficiaries by requiring them to decide when and how much of the trust to distribute.
For grantors wanting a neutral, impartial party to manage and distribute the assets held in a trust, I am prepared to serve as a designated trustee or recommend a corporate trustee to fill the role. As a certified financial planner, I have the background to oversee your trust assets prudently.
If you are already a named trustee, given the responsibility to oversee and administer long-term trusts, I can help you comply with the trust’s provisions and required submissions. As a neutral party, I can ensure that the concerns of all interested parties are heard to minimize conflict and facilitate the smooth administration of the trust.