When our clients put their estate legal affairs in order, we typically encourage them to establish one or more revocable or irrevocable trusts. While discussing this process, the client’s questions often turn to how their family will settle their final affairs after their death, and many ask about the probate process.
However, when everything is correctly set up and funded, the probate process is completely avoided.
Part of the process of good estate planning involves the concept of trust administration. Trust administration is the term which concerns how a trust — and the assets of the trust — will be administered according to the directions in the trust document.
When a trust is set up and funded correctly, an individual, individuals, or the company (sometimes a bank) will act as the successor trustee. The successor trustee’s job is to make sure that the trust is administered correctly. This means paying the legally enforceable debts, filing all necessary tax returns, and distributing the property named in the trust document to the named beneficiaries in the manner directed by the trust.
You may be saying, isn’t this the same as probate?
The answer is a resounding no.
Probate is a public court proceeding. The proceeding will have delays, court deadlines, court hearings, and a variety of other requirements for the surviving family. On average, a probate administration can last a year to two years — or sometimes even longer. In addition, the costs can be in excess of $20,000 or more.
A trust administration is a private process. Normally, there is no public court proceeding. In addition — and more importantly to the surviving family — the process is shorter and costs substantially less than a probate administration. For this reason, many of our clients and their families find trust administration preferable to probate.
For more information
If you have questions about estate planning, establishing a trust, avoiding probate, or trust administration, please contact our office at (513) 241-0400 or use our contact form to schedule a time to discuss your estate planning and estate administration questions. Our Estate Planning and Estate Administration Attorneys look forward to speaking with you!