If you have a loved one who has passed away, and you need guidance on what to do next, we can help. Contact Martha Patterson today for the legal counsel you need.

If your loved one passed away with no estate plan or a will…

Dying without an estate plan is called dying intestate. The estate will be subject to state intestacy laws and go through probate court. This means the division and distribution of the estate will be subject to a predetermined formula, usually providing half of the estate to a spouse and the remaining half allocated in equal portions to the biological children.

A will guarantees death probate. The probate court will take over at the time of death to make sure debts are paid, assets are distributed to heirs, and any loose ends are taken care of. All property that is controlled by the will must go through the probate court. It is a demanding and challenging job, with many deadlines to be met, most of which are within nine months of the person’s death — the mourning period for the family.

Depending on the size of the estate, the complexity of the estate plan, and the nature and extent of the assets involved, there may be additional demands placed on the executor. The team here at Geisler Patterson Law can help smooth the process.

If your loved one created a living trust…

Your family will go through a process called trust administration. Upon death, the successor trustee must take steps to distribute trust assets to beneficiaries and fulfill any other obligations of the trust. Here at Geisler Patterson Law, we serve as counsel to the trustee and provide assistance with the administrative duties required of the trustee, as well as help them take advantage of any benefits offered by the trust. When a trust is not administered properly, the trustee runs the risk of causing the beneficiaries to pay penalties or additional fees.