Probate & Trust Administration

Probate & Trust Administration

Probate Attorney in Soquel, CA, serving Watsonville, CA & Santa Cruz County residents

Probate is a court-supervised process for distributing a deceased person's individually-owned assets. It takes time and is expensive. Probate is used to distribute assets if a deceased person only has a will, or if they do not have a will or a trust.

The good news is that probate is avoidable by creating a customized estate plan that will distribute your assets according to your specific wishes upon your death. Lee Ann Shenkman is experienced in this arena and is here to help you.

If your estate requires a probate, Lee Ann Shenkman provides probate attorney services to help you through this process. In this case, court forms must be completed and you must complete the following: prove to the court that the will is valid; appoint an executor or legal representative with authority to act on behalf of the decedent; identify and inventory the decedent's property, and have that property appraised; pay debts and taxes; and distribute the remaining property according to the terms of the will or to the decedent's heirs.

But again, Lee Ann Shenkman can help you create a customized estate plan so that you can completely avoid the wasted time and expense of probate.

Contact a probate attorney from Lee Ann Shenkman, Attorney at Law in Soquel, CA. Serving Watsonville, CA, Santa Cruz, CA and surrounding areas.

Trust Administration

A trust administration avoids probate and is required when a person with a living trust dies. A living trust is a legal document that, just like a will, contains instructions for the distribution of a deceased person's assets.

The trustee of a living trust is responsible for ensuring the assets of the trust are distributed properly and in a timely manner. In a trust administration, the trustee does not need a probate court's approval to act. He or she simply follows the directions written in the trust instrument.

The trustee typically works with an attorney and financial professionals such as a CPA and a financial planner, to conduct the following steps: thorough review of the trust document by an attorney; file the pour-over will with the court; mail legal notices to beneficiaries; file documents with county departments; gather all trust assets; federal estate tax analysis; collect death benefits; create sub-trusts and obtain tax I.D. numbers; distribute trust assets and terminate the trust.

If the deceased person whose assets are being distributed through a trust administration has minor children, it is common for him or her to leave assets to the children in a sub-trust. In this case, the trustee manages the assets of those sub-trusts until the child or young adult has reached the age the trust specifies. Generally, the assets in the sub-trust can be used for the health and welfare of the beneficiary, and upon the beneficiary reaching a specified age, the remaining assets are distributed outright to the beneficiary