Probate and Trust Administration
We provide comprehensive probate and trust administration services. Probate and trust clients include individual and corporate executors and trustees, and conservators administering estates that range from the simple and modest to the large and complex.
Our Role as a Probate Administrator
Probate is a legal process wherein the court oversees the asset distribution and debt repayment of a deceased individual. In some cases, this procedure becomes murky, especially when people fail to clarify their intentions before they die.
Your Barulich Dugoni & Suttmann Law Group estate planning probate attorney will guide you through the process steps as they apply to California law. These include:
- Initiating the proceedings by filing a petition with the appropriate court in the county where the deceased individual resided at the time of death.
- Publishing and sending the necessary notices, including publishing notice in the local newspaper and informing interested persons as required by California law.
- Proving the will, if necessary.
- Collecting any of the deceased’s assets that are subject to probate.
- Paying valid creditor claims with proceeds from the estate.
- Paying all applicable state and federal estate taxes.
- Closing the estate, which entails providing a detailed accounting of all probate-related actions and paying the appropriate fees to the probate administrator.
As experienced probate attorneys in California, we can also help clarify which assets are subject to probate administration. The process only applies to those assets owned by the deceased individual that do not have an immediate ownership successor.
Examples of assets that do not go through probate include those held in a living trust and property held in joint tenancy. Probate also does not apply to situations where the deceased specified a beneficiary, such as with a life insurance policy.
Our Trust Administration Services in California
In a trust arrangement, an individual or entity (trustor) designates a trustee to manage their assets for the benefit of other parties (beneficiaries). This process can become overwhelming, especially for someone who has no previous experience.
Our trust administration services can remove the burden from your shoulders. Your attorney will help you navigate all the steps, which include:
- Collecting the appropriate documents, including certified copies of the death certificate.
- Notifying the heirs and beneficiaries.
- Identifying the trustor’s assets and debts.
- Responsibly investing the trust’s assets and liquidating or renting property such as vacant homes.
- Acquiring the titles to any assets listed in the name of the trust.
- Filing all trust-related tax documents on time.
- Providing an accounting of all trust transactions.
- Distributing the assets according to the trustor’s directions and California law.
- Dissolving the trust upon the distribution of all assets.
A Conscientious Approach To Probate And Trust Administration
Family dynamics are often the first consideration in developing the right approach in any estate administration. We realize that long after the administration has come to a close, family members need to continue in their relationships with one another. We are conscientious in undertaking our representation of the executor, trustee or conservator, and are sensitive to the needs and desires of those interested in the estate.
Providing Dedicated Representation For Fiduciary Clients
The hallmark of the Barulich Dugoni & Suttmann Law Group is our recognized expertise in representing fiduciaries during the administration of estates. We jealously guard and protect our fiduciary clients from problems that may arise in the normal course of the administration, whether from issues relating to property held in the estate or from others interested in the estate.
Our attorneys have written and lectured extensively regarding the attorney’s role in the course of fiduciary representation. We recognize that for most fiduciaries, the experience of managing a decedent’s estate will be new and daunting. We maintain constant communications with our clients, from the managing attorney to the paralegal assigned to the administration.
Utilizing A Collaborative Strategy
Coordination with other professionals is also a key to the success of any estate administration. We maintain strong relationships with accountants, financial planners and asset managers, and work closely with them to ensure that they have all necessary information to properly handle and report assets distributed by the estate.
Administrations should not be unduly protracted or delayed. Our lawyers and paralegals will identify short- and long-term tasks early in the administration, building on expectations for an efficient process. We take the extra effort to provide our clients with concise outlines and memoranda, and upon conclusion of the administration our clients receive a detailed, closing binder containing all significant documents.
We conclude all engagements with clear and understandable advice regarding any ongoing duties and obligations of the client. We take pride in having received the highest compliments from professional fiduciaries regarding our ability to articulate and report information during and upon conclusion of estate administrations.
Speak With An Attorney
Probate and estate administration can be a daunting, confusing and time-consuming process. Get in contact with our experienced California attorneys at Barulich Dugoni & Suttmann Law Group to discover how we may be of assistance throughout the administration of the estate. Contact our Burlingame office by calling 650-292-2900 or reaching out to us online.