The death of a loved one is difficult enough. Having to deal with the legal details that follow should not add to the stress. At the Laiderman Law Firm, we regularly help families work through all of the details of administering a will or trust, and navigating the complexities of probate. We can also provide guidance to your authorized representatives throughout the process and guide your heirs in administering trusts for their benefit, if any.
What is Probate/Estate Administration?
When a loved one passes, if he/she has an estate, their assets will either be filtered through estate administration procedures or through a court-managed process called probate. The probate process can be lengthy and costly, depending on the size and/or complexity of the estate. Probate can be avoided if you have a well-drafted and properly funded living trust. In this instance, the successor trustee (that you named in your trust) will manage and distribute the assets according to the instructions contained in your trust.
Steps in Probate
While each probate estate is unique, most involve these steps:
- Filing of a petition with the proper probate court to have the Will admitted, if applicable.
- Notice to heirs under the Will or to statutory heirs (if no Will exists).
- Petition to appoint a Personal Representative (sometimes referred to as an Executor) if there is a Will or to appoint an Administrator for the estate if there is not a Will.
- Inventory and appraisal of estate assets by Personal Representative/Administrator.
- Payment of estate debts to rightful creditors.
- Sale of estate assets.
- Payment of taxes, if applicable.
- Final distribution of assets to heirs
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.
The Laiderman Law Firm, P.C. assists clients with Estate planning, Wills and Trusts, Elder Law, Medicaid Planning in Missouri, VA Pension, Long Term Care Planning, Probate and Estate Administration, Special Needs Planning, Business Law and Real Estate Law. Serving clients in Missouri and Illinois primarily in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, Franklin County , Madison County and St. Clair County.