Probate / Trust Administration

Most people have heard about probate but are unsure what the term means. Simply put, probate is the process by which assets are distributed after a person passes away. If the decedent has a will, in the vast majority of cases his or her estate will still have to go through the Indiana probate process. If the decedent passes away without a will, assets will be distributed according the law of intestacy. The court will simply decide “who gets what” according to state guidelines.

While much of our practice is devoted to helping families avoid probate, we are often called upon to handle the probate process and the settlement of estates. Probate and estate settlement involve a wide range of duties and responsibilities. The person responsible for carrying them out has to devote a considerable amount of time and deal with what can be a frustratingly slow and expensive process—all while suffering from the grief of losing a loved one.

At Applegate & Dillman Elder Law, we can handle the probate and estate administration process for you from beginning to end. We understand what you are going through during this difficult time. We will shoulder the burden for you so that you and your family can devote your time and energy to what matters most—coming to terms with your loss and moving on with your life.

Trust Administration

Trusts are among the most powerful tools in an estate planner’s toolbox. However, for trusts to accomplish their goals and carry out the wishes of the person who created them, they must be properly funded and administered. What is involved in administering a trust? While every situation is different, the process typically requires filings with the IRS, state taxing authorities and the court, together with notifying individuals affected by the trust’s stipulations. Other responsibilities include settling creditor claims, opening bank accounts, paying the final expenses of the decedent, arranging for the sale of assets and property, and in some cases, considerably more.

If you have been asked to serve as trustee and administer a trust, you should know that trustees are subject to severe legal and financial penalties for failing to administer the trust properly. Specific accounting practices must be followed and an accurate summation must be provided to trust beneficiaries.

At Applegate & Dillman Elder Law, we can explain the risks involved and guide you through the entire process from start to finish. We can also work closely with existing family advisors to make sure that the directives of the trust are handled properly. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your particular situation.

You can reach Joani Phoebus at 317-522-1325 or [email protected].

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