ROBIN ROSE STILLER, ESQ.
Tools to Assist Fiduciaries:
Losing a loved one is difficult. The death of a family member is often an emotional time and our firm is dedicated to providing our clients with the compassion and understanding that is needed at this time while assisting our clients in the administration process to ensure that the loved one's wishes are honored. The procedures that must be followed are dictated by the estate planning that was done, or left undone, by the decedent.
Estate Administration Probate administration is the court supervised process that allows a deceased person's assets to be transferred to his or her creditors, heirs or beneficiaries. The key to our success is managing that process in an efficient and timely manner. Probate is required when a deceased person dies leaving assets titled solely in his or her name. The disposition of those assets is determined by the decedent's Last Will and Testament if such a document exists or is determined by the applicable law if the decedent did not leave a Will. Many clients wish to avoid probate because the process is often seen as expensive and time-consuming. We have extensive experience representing estate fiduciaries and we seek to help our estate administration clients move through the probate process as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Trust Administration Many clients have established and funded revocable trusts as a means to avoid the need for an estate administration at the time of their death. Trust administration is the private process that allows the decedent's assets to be transferred as the decedent intended. The trust document itself sets forth the rules that the new trustee must follow when handling the trust assets for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. We have a wealth of experience representing trustees and assisting them in carrying out their duties under the terms of the trust document.
Post-Mortem Planning Many estate or trust administrations are relatively simple while others are extremely complex. While the decedent may have created a comprehensive plan for asset disposition, there are often matters that can be addressed after death to achieve the best possible result for the decedent's family. There may be estate tax issues to be resolved. There may be beneficiaries who have decided to forego their inheritances. There may be retirement assets to consider or needs of a surviving spouse or minor children to be taken into account. We have assisted hundreds of clients through the estate and/or trust administration process and can help identify and capitalize on opportunities presented after death to maximize the benefits of the estate plan designed by the deceased family member for the benefit of the family.