Estate/Trust Administration

Estate & Trust Administration

It can be daunting to navigate the legal and administrative issues that arise after a family member or other loved one passes away. The surviving family members are left with the task of handling the business affairs of their deceased loved one during a very difficult and emotional time. The estate plan of the deceased can make the administration for their loved ones seamless or mired in a web challenges.

Estate Administration is a public forum for carrying out the intentions of a loved one’s Last Will and Testament or the statutory descent rules of Virginia. The process begins with the executor or administration going to the probate division to be sworn in as the executor or administrator. Tasked with the authority of administering the estate, the executor or administrator publishes the decedent’s Will, files an inventory of the decedent’s assets, and files an accounting of the handling of the assets, payments of debts, and distributions to the beneficiaries or heirs. All of which is public record for anyone to see!! The estate administration can be as short as 16 months and come with a cost for filing fees, recordation fees, commissioner fees, and professional fees.

Trust Administration is similar to the estate administration; however, the single largest benefit is the fact that there is no public filings and no involvement with the court to administer a trust. There are formalities and rules which a trustee has to follow. The trustee, like the executor or administrator, is a fiduciary and is accountable to the beneficiaries of the trust. The trustee responsibility is to follow the trust terms in the handling of the trust assets.

In either case, Estate or Trust Administration requires knowledge in various areas of the law (real estate, personal property, contract, etc.), estate or trust administrative statutes, and tax returns (individuals, fiduciary, estate).