Yearly Archives: 2015

Aug 2015

Will a Court Ever Order a Trustee Removed from a Trust?

Reasons for Removing a Trustee from a Living Trust

A properly drafted living trust can be an excellent addition to a well-rounded estate plan. Part of the reason trusts have become popular is that they offer a great deal of flexibility. If you create a trust, you must appoint a trustee to administer the terms of your trust. A trustee must oversee property and assets held in the trust, as well as make sure they are properly distributed. Whether a trust is a revocable or irrevocable trust, there may come a time when it is necessary to remove a trustee. If the living trust gives the beneficiaries the authority to remove a trustee, the beneficiaries can remove the trustee and appoint an alternative. Absent this power in the...
Jul 2015

My Deceased Loved One Had Debts. Does Probate Handle Them?

Ways that the Probate Process Deals with Debt

The period immediately following the death of a loved one is frequently emotionally challenging. The last thing a surviving spouse or other heirs need to deal with is persistent or harassing calls from bill collectors due to the probate process. If your loved one has creditors, however, these debts must be settled. Furthermore, most creditors know that they have a limited time during which they can make a claim against the estate during the probate process. For this reason, they are usually quick to follow up once they receive notice that a debtor has passed away.

Debts and the Probate Process

If you are the personal representative (executor or administrator) of the estate, it’s important to understand that the estate must pay all creditors before it can make any distributions...
Jun 2015

You Need More than a Will to Avoid Probate

Probate Avoidance Steps

A last will and testament is an incredibly important estate planning document that provides a firm foundation for your estate plan. Contrary to what many people believe, however, a will does not help a testator avoid probate. Fortunately, our estate planning attorneys can help you create an estate plan that achieves this goal. So what does it take to avoid probate? The answer is not the same for everyone, which is why it’s critical to work closely with an estate planning attorney at law. That said, here are several documents and accounts you may need to ensure your estate does not have to pass through probate:

Trusts

Assets held in a trust at the time of an individual’s death are considered the property of the trust – not the individual. As such, these assets...
Jun 2015

I Think the Executor of My Loved One’s Estate Should Be Removed. What Should I Do?

Probate Court and the Executor Removal Process

This is a sensitive subject but one that does unfortunately come up from time to time in probate court. The law requires the executor (also called a “personal representative”) of an estate to perform numerous obligations and always act in the best interests of the estate. When a person dies with a will in place, the will names an executor to oversee the estate’s administration. In cases where a decedent dies without a will, the probate court appoints someone to serve in this role. Whether the executor is appointed through the will or by the probate court, he or she must take care to handle the estate properly at all times. When an executor fails to properly execute his or her duties, the interests of the estate’s beneficiaries may suffer. This...