Estate & Trust Administration

The death of a loved one is a difficult and traumatic experience for anyone, no matter what the circumstances may be.  Unfortunately, this already difficult experience can be made much more burdensome by legal complexities that follow a person’s passing.  Callister, Hendricks & Spencer believes that our role as attorneys is to help make the legal process as short and efficient as possible for surviving family members.

When it comes time to administer a decedent’s estate through a court probate administration or through a private trust administration, Callister, Hendricks & Spencer will be able to assist you in navigating that process.  This is a core function of our firm’s practice.  Our compassionate and committed attorneys will work to expedite the process and answer any questions you may have.

Probate

When a person passes away with money or property in his or her name, the probate process may be required to pass that property to the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries.  Unfortunately, the probate laws and procedures can be difficult to maneuver without prior experience and knowledge of the laws.  We assist either beneficiaries or personal representatives in the probate process.  If you are nominated as a personal representative, we are able to lead you through the process from beginning to end.  If you believe you should inherit property, we can help you identify your rights and understand the process, and we can advocate for you if necessary.

Trust Administration

With the increased use of “living trusts” over the last 20-25 years, many estates will require a trust administration to distribute assets according to the decedent’s wishes.  Once a creator of a trust passes away, the trustee must determine what his or her duties include under the trust instrument, understand how the trust operates, and decide how to proceed with the trust administration.  We can help facilitate proper trust administration in accordance with the trust instrument, state and federal tax law, handle court proceedings when necessary, and assist in taking the legal steps and preparing the documents required to finalize the administration.

Termination of Joint Tenancies and Non-Probate Transfers

Upon the death of one joint tenant, we will assist the surviving joint tenant to prepare and file appropriate affidavits and other documents required to effect a transfer of title.  In many situations a decedent’s ownership interest in various assets may be transferrable to his or her beneficiaries, intestate heirs, to a surviving joint tenant or surviving spouse without the need for a formal probate.  This is particularly true of smaller estates, joint tenancy properties, tentative trusts and community assets.  We can help you determine whether an estate requires a formal probate or whether a shorter, less expensive process can be utilized, and we will assist you with the legal documents and process to accomplish the transfers.

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