Estate Settlement and Probate

Our Estate Settlement and Probate Department will help you and your family through the legal process of settling an estate after a loved one passes away.  Settlement of Trusts and Probates are similar, but each has their own unique requirements and must be conducted accordingly.   Our process is as follows:

 

Initial Contact

Our Client Relations Coordinator will assist you with the passing of your loved one.  During this call we will:

  • Gain a basic understanding of your estate;
  • Gain a basic understanding of your family, heirs, and beneficiaries;
  • Gain a basic understanding of your individual situation;
  • Gain a basic understanding of your concerns and values;
  • A preliminary explanation of our process and timeline will be discussed; and
  • A Gathering appointment time will be set.

At the conclusion of this call, our Client Relations Coordinator will:

  • Mail and email our Confidential Estate Information Packet to you;
  • This packet will include:
    • The date and time of your Gathering Appointment;
    • Memorandum to Trustee
    • Directions to our office;
    • Estate Document Checklist;
    • Confidential Estate Information Booklet;

In preparation for the Gathering Appointment, the Estate Representative/Trustee will:

  • Review and confirm the date and time of their Gathering Appointment;
  • Gather the documents on the Estate Document Checklist;
  • Ensure that Death Certificates have been ordered; and
  • Complete the Confidential Estate Information Booklet.

 

Gather the Estate

During this initial one hour Gathering Appointment, we will discuss the Estate Settlement and Probate process.  We will gather information about:

  • The Decedent;
  • The Decedent’s heirs, beneficiaries, and other family members;
  • Review estate documents, including the Trust and any Wills;
  • Review the family dynamics and concerns;
  • Review the status of all estate assets;
  • Review the status of all estate debts;
  • Discuss how to inventory and value these assets and debts; and
  • Discuss the stages of our Estate Settlement and Probate process.

At the conclusion of this appointment, we will set the date and time for the Initial Visit appointment.  We will provide you with a recap of this appointment, a request for any missing or additional information required, and the date and time of the Initial Visit appointment.

Evaluation

After the Gathering appointment, our Estate Settlement team will review and evaluate all of the information collected during the meeting. This evaluation will produce a plan to efficiently and effectively administer your estate in a manner consistent with your family’s values and concerns. An internal discussion of the Estate Administrator’s fiduciary duty will also occur.

Initial Visit

During the Initial Visit meeting, our Estate Settlement department will:

  • Present the results of the Evaluation meeting based on the documents and information provided at the Gathering appointment;
  • Provide options to settle the estate;
  • Address any actual or possible needs for a Probate filing with the Court; and
  • Inform the Trustee/Representative of the costs associated with the Estate Settlement.

If we are engaged, we will:

  • Set the next appointment, the Creating Fiduciary Authority meeting;
  • Provide a recap of the meeting; and
  • Summarize what will happen at the Creating Fiduciary Authority Meeting.

 

Creating Fiduciary Authority

During the Creating the Fiduciary Authority meeting, our Estate Settlement department will review the appropriate documents to proceed with settlement of the Trust and/or the Probate of the Estate:

Trust Settlement:

  • Review and sign Change of Trustee documents;
  • Review and sign appropriate Real Property documents;
  • Review and sign Notice documents; and
  • Set the next appointments, Case Analysis & Building the Plan  (internal) and the Presenting the Case Plan (with client) meetings;
  • Provide a recap of the meeting; and
  • Summarize what will happen at the Case Analysis & Building the Plan and Presenting the Case Plan Meetings.

Probate Settlement:

  • Review the Court process for Probate Matters;
  • Review and sign documents to be filed with the Court;
  • Review the post filing process;
  • Next appointments, Case Analysis & Building the Plan (internal) and the Presenting the Case Plan (with client) will be set after the Court hearing;
  • Provide a recap of the meeting; and
  • Summarize what will happen at the Case Analysis & Building the Plan and Presenting the Plan meetings.

 

Case Analysis & Building the Plan

This is an internal meeting where the Estate Settlement team will meet with your other advisors to confirm the assets of the Estate, their values, and the proposed distribution of the assets in accordance with the terms of the Trust and/or Court rulings.  The team will review and discuss various options for future Beneficiary Trust Program maintenance and financial management.

Presenting the Case Plan

During this stage of the Estate Settlement process, your Estate Settlement team will:

  • Review and discuss the results of the Case Analysis & Building the Plan meeting;
  • Review and discuss the rulings of any Court hearings;
  • Review and discuss any costs of the Estate that need to be settled before distributions;
  • Review and discuss the assets of the Estate and their values;
  • Propose the:
    • Allocation of assets to Trust splits; and/or
    • Distributions to the heirs/beneficiaries;
  • Review and discuss various options for future Beneficiary Trust Program maintenance and financial management;
  • Review the process to allocate/distribute assets;
  • Set the next appointment, Implementation meeting;
  • Provide a recap of this meeting; and
  • Summarize what will happen at the Implementation meeting.

 

Implementation

Prior to this meeting, the Estate Settlement team will prepare the documents necessary to:

  • Filing of a Final Accounting with Court, if in Probate
  • Allocate assets to trust splits;
  • Receipts for distributions to heirs/beneficiaries;
  • Re-titling of assets to financial management chosen;
  • Discuss filing of tax returns;
  • Discuss enrollment in the Beneficiary Trust Program;
  • Set the next appointment, Confirmation meeting;
  • Provide a recap of this meeting; and
  • Summarize what will happen at the Confirmation meeting.

 

Confirmation

This is the final stage of the Estate Settlement. During this stage we will Confirm with the Fiduciary:

  • Order for Final Accounting Received, if in Probate;
  • Assets have been re-titled;
  • Assets have been distributed;
  • Tax returns have been filed;
  • Enrollment in the Beneficiary Trust Program; and
  • Closing the estate

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