Estate and Trust Administration
Following a person’s death, some sort of administration is usually necessary. The form of administration may vary greatly from preparing and filing a simple affidavit all the way up to full administration under the supervision of the probate court. We work with Executors, Trustees and other fiduciaries, as well as beneficiaries, to ensure that our clients’ interests are protected.
Following a loved one’s death, there is often a need for some type of estate administration to make sure the decedent’s property gets to the proper beneficiaries, to ensure all valid creditor claims get paid according to preference and to provide certainty regarding matters of title. Whether formal probate administration is required, or whether you can effectively use informal administration, depends on how the decedent’s assets were titled and the value of such assets. Probate administration usually begins with the court appointing an executor who is charged with fulfilling several duties, including giving notices, collecting assets, filing an inventory, paying valid debts, preparing an accounting, filing tax returns, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. We can guide you through this process effectively and in a manner that keeps the complexities from becoming overwhelming. If the estate qualifies for informal administration, we can prepare any of the necessary affidavits, correspond with the interested parties and make sure you are protected as the informal executor.
Trusts can come in many different types and sizes. While trusts are often not subject to court supervision, this can sometimes become a trap for the unwary as people might establish a trust but then let it become dormant or neglect certain duties. Our office can advise you regarding the trustee’s duties, such as accountings, filing tax returns and prudent investing. If the trust was established as a will substitute, we often advise more formal administration to provide the trustee and beneficiaries better protection and certainty. Our office works with both corporate and individual trustees to honor the trustor’s wishes and safeguard the trustee from issues leading to liability.
Guardianships and Conservatorships
At Bauch & Lechtenberg Law Office, we provide legal support for capable and caring adults who want to gain the legal right to make decisions for loved ones in need of their assistance. We can help you petition to be appointed as a conservator to gain decision-making authority over the health, finances and welfare of your elderly parent or another disabled adult. We also support individuals who seek to become the legal guardians of minor children or want to choose another individual to become their children’s guardian in the event of their own incapacitation or death. After the guardianship or conservatorship is established, the district court will require annual reporting by the fiduciary to make sure the guardianship or conservatorship is still needed and the fiduciary is sufficiently protecting the ward’s interests. We can work with you to prepare and file proper reports that demonstrate you are satisfying your fiduciary duties.