Probate and Trust Administration
When someone passes away, their assets are distributed to family members. The process in which that is done differs and is based upon one of three scenarios: the deceased person or decedent died without a will, the decedent died with a will in place, or the decedent died with a trust in place. At minimum, everyone should have a will in place. When the decedent has not taken the proper steps of estate planning, it can become complicated and burdensome for the survivors. Beck & Lenox Estate Planning & Elder Law (Beck & Lenox) is an experienced estate administration firm in St. Charles, servicing the greater St. Louis region. Founded in 1974, the firm has decades of experience helping families through the probate process.
The Distribution of Estate Assets
In general, an estate is either distributed in Probate or by a Living Trust. For smaller estates, probate court may not be required, depending on the laws of the decedent’s state of residence at the time of death. It is also important to remember that many assets with a Pay on Death (POD) or beneficiary designation do not pass through probate court, and typically include: life insurance proceeds, funds in an IRA or 401(k), funds in a POD bank account and real estate or vehicles held with a Transfer on Death (TOD) deed or title document, among others.
Who Is Responsible for Estate Administration?
When someone dies without a will, the probate court is responsible for assigning a representative to administer the estate. When a will was created, the person who was selected as the representative is responsible for the administration. When a trust is created, it is the assigned trustee who bears that responsibility. For a variety of reasons, the responsible party may be unable to fulfill the duties required and may request the help of an attorney to administer the estate.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are the responsible party and need help, schedule a free consultation with an experienced estate administration attorney. At Beck & Lenox in St. Charles, Missouri, our knowledgeable attorneys and legal staff are constantly working to help clients completely understand their options and make educated decisions that work for their unique situation. Contact our office today and let us provide you with peace of mind.