Estate Administration

Estate Administration refers to the actions that will need to be taken after the passing of an individual in order to insure that assets and interests of the decedent pass legally and succinctly to the rightful heirs and beneficiaries of the decedent.

In plain english, Estate Administration involves the necessary legal filings that will need to be executed in order for a Will or Trust to be processed. Estate Administration can be divided into two separate subcategories, Administering an Estate through Probate and Administering an Estate Outside of Probate…

Administering an Estate through Probate
In California, a Probate process will need to be initiated in order the administer and estate if the decedent passed with no estate planning (No Will or Trust). Probate is a Court-Supervised processed that involves a 6-8 month minimum process in order to properly transfer assets from a decent to beneficiaries. Our firm specializes in administering estates through probate in California, and specifically handling probates in Los Angeles County. Please remember that a Will alone does not avoid Probate. Should a decedent pass with only a Will (and no Trust), the Will must be “probated” with the Court. Only a Trust avoids the Probate process. Most importantly, the fees associated with probate are directly governed by California Statute – Thus there is no negotiating attorneys fees and fears of hourly billing from an attorney. Fees are computed directly in according with the gross size of the estate. And best of all, the attorney is not paid until the very end of the probate process, when the beneficiaries receive their rightful share of the decedent’s estate.

Administering an Estate Outside of Probate
As referenced above, only an estate plan with a Trust will avoid a Probate process. However, estate administration will still be necessary even if there is a Trust and probate is being avoided. Certain documents will need to be filed with the county where the decedent resided and additional documents will need to be executed where the decedent had bank accounts/retirement account/etc. in order to legally and smoothly pass assets to designated beneficiaries within the decedent’s Trust.

Although administering an estate outside of probate is far less complicated and time consuming than a full probate process, a qualified attorney should be consulted in order to make sure all required documents are rightfully executed and processed. Failure to properly administer an estate can lead to costly tax consequences to beneficiaries in the future. Our firm can assist those in need of administering an estate (usually a trust) outside of probate. Fees for this are generally much less than statutory fees associated with a California probate process.