Probate and estate administration are the processes through which estate assets are transferred after death. Probate will be necessary if there are any assets in the name of the decedent which require a title transfer that cannot take place without court intervention. Probate can be "independent" or "dependent." In an independent administration, the appointed independent executor manages assets, pays any debts, files required tax returns and various court documents, and distributes the estate assets. In a dependent administration, the probate judge must approve every detail of the estate administration.
Probate means, in essence establishing the validity of a Will the deceased may have had, determining the deceased's "legal" heirs if there has been no estate planning, detailing the deceased's probate estate (called the inventory), paying appropriate debts, and, finally, distributing the deceased's property to the people entitled to receive it. In the right set of circumstances this may be a relatively straight-forward process; in others, unforeseen issues or a lack of pre-planning may create unanticipated problems. Whatever the situation, at The Wiewel Law Firm, we strive to provide the high quality legal counsel necessary to navigate the deceased's family through this sometimes mysterious and often misunderstood process. As a Probate client, you also will receive our Surviving Probate, which will be a very helpful, step-by-step guide for you.
If you have recently lost a loved one and do not know where to turn, be assured that we will help you in any way that we can to make your loss more bearable.
A properly drafted and funded trust will generally avoid probate. The trust need not be filed with the probate court. Nonetheless, there are still steps necessary to administer the trust: beneficiaries must be contacted; assets must be gathered, valued and managed; potential creditors must be notified; debts, taxes and final expenses must be paid; and, ultimately, any remaining income and assets must be distributed in compliance with the trust terms. Successor trustees often lack the time, resources or knowledge to personally administer the trust, and therefore may call upon legal, accounting and investment professionals for assistance. Oftentimes, a corporate fiduciary (e.g., a trust company) is an excellent alternative to relying solely on busy family members or friends to serve as trustee. We can help your successor trustee(s) deal with the complexities of administering your trust. Please call our office and we will be happy to schedule a consultation, whether or not our office has drafted the original trust.
Austin - (512) 480-8828 | *Georgetown - (512) 869-1435 | *Highland Lakes - (830) 598-1700 | *San Antonio - (210) 510-4143 | *All other areas - (877) 545-8828 |
*By Appointment Only