Losing a loved one may be one of the most difficult things you will ever experience. At a time when all you want is the time to grieve, you may be required to step up and handle the administration of a trust, or probate for your loved one. To make things even more difficult, you may be wholly unprepared for the process—what you need to do and when you need to do it. At a time like this, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family is to contact an experienced trust administration lawyer in Orlando.
Having an experienced trust administration and probate attorney by your side from start to finish can make the entire process exponentially easier for you. You can rest easy knowing that what needs to be done will be done—correctly, and in a timely manner. My firm, Groover Law, PLLC, can help you through this difficult time. I fully understand the position you find yourself in and will help you through the process with experience, knowledge, and compassion. Rather than struggling with yet one more thing, why not let Groover Law, PLLC handle the legal aspects of trust administration and probate?
What is Trust Administration?
When you have a trust prepared, you will generally name yourself as the Trustee, naming successor trustees in the event of the person’s death. Trust administration refers to how your successor trustee or trustees will manage the assets, according to the terms of the trust and for the benefit of the decedent’s beneficiaries. Since there are a number of steps required to safeguard the effective administration of a trust, it is highly recommended that you work with an attorney who has the experience and skills to guide you through the process successfully. I have those skills, and will help facilitate the process, while ensuring each step is completed legally and properly.
Trust administration usually begins with a mandatory notice to beneficiaries and heirs of the trust. After receiving this notification, a beneficiary has a specific amount of time to file a trust contest, and if no contest is filed within this time period, the ability to do so may be surrendered. The successor trustee is then charged with handling assets and property according to the decedent’s wishes, along with paying the debts of the decedent, including all taxes. The successor trustee is required to keep a detailed accounting of every trust decision, including using trust funds to pay creditors and taxes. Once all assets have been collected, debts paid, tax returns filed, and liabilities fulfilled, the remaining trust assets will be distributed to named beneficiaries.
Trustee Services and Probate Services
There are a number of services I can help you with, including the following:
Sometimes known as a successor trustee, this is the person named by the individual who sets up the trust as the person to succeed him or her, administering the trust in the manner set forth in the trust documents.
A trust protector is often used with irrevocable trusts to address future uncertainties, although a trust protector’s authority to modify an irrevocable trust is limited. The trust protector may also:
- Monitor the work of the trustee
- Modify the terms of the trust in response to changes in creditor protection laws, tax laws, or other laws
- Remove trustees or appoint successor trustees
- Mediate disputes among those named in the trust
- Advise trustees on investments
- Resolve a dispute between successor trustees
- Resolve trust ambiguities
The trust protector is designated in the trust itself, which should also set forth the specific powers granted to the trust protector.
An executor is named in your will as a trusted person who will be responsible for accounting for, preserving, and properly distributing the property of the estate. The executor will have the following responsibilities, as well as others:
- Providing notice to all interested parties
- Filing final tax returns
- Valuing and preserving the value of assets
- Filing an inventory of all assets with the court
- Identifying and serving notice on creditors
- Publishing a legal notice for any unidentified creditors
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries
- Reporting all steps to the court
- Closing the estate
As with a Trustee for a trust, it is extremely helpful for a Florida executor to work with a Florida estate attorney while administering and closing out the estate.
What is Florida Probate?
Probate is a court-supervised process that identifies and gathers the assets of a decedent, pays all debts on behalf of the decedent, then distributes the decedent’s assets to his or her heirs and beneficiaries. Not all estates are required to go through the probate process, which can be lengthy, as well as expensive, in some instances. There is a statute of limitations (filing deadlines for lawsuits against the estate or the personal representative) which is, in general, two years following the death of the individual. Creditor claims may be barred three months following the first notice to creditor publication.
What is the Florida Probate Process?
The Florida probate process is generally as follows:
- The personal representative will meet with a Florida probate administration attorney
- Documents are filed with the Florida probate court
- Beneficiaries are notified
- The Florida probate court issues letters of administration
- Creditor notifications are issued
- Assets and accounts may be liquidated, with the proceeds held in the estate account
- Final estate taxes are paid
- A final accounting is made of the estate, then distributed to beneficiaries
- Assets are distributed to heirs
- The estate is discharged
How Groover Law Can Help with Trust Administration and Probate
For all but the simplest estates, Florida law requires the personal representative of an estate hires a probate attorney. For trust administration, this is also the best idea. I am Lea Anne Groover, of Groover Law, and I will work hard to make the probate process or trust administration process as efficient, quick, and painless as possible. It is always in the best interests of the estate and all interested parties to wrap up trust and probate administration in a timely fashion. If you are a personal representative, a trustee, a beneficiary, or a creditor, contact Groover Law and speak to me, Lea Anne Groover, for all your estate planning, trust administration, and probate needs.