Parman & Easterday helps families and friends to cope with the legal processes which are triggered when a death occurs. As families are focused on grieving their loved ones, complex issues arise regarding protecting and distributing the assets of the deceased. We address these issues for you so you can focus on remembering your departed friend or relative and on comforting those left behind.
Our legal team provides assistance with all of the steps you must take after a death, including the two most common processes for winding up the affairs of the deceased and transferring assets to new owners. These processes are trust administration and probate.
We can represent heirs, beneficiaries, concerned friends and relatives of a deceased person, as well as trustees and executors in Oklahoma City, OK. Give us a call today to find out more about the personalized advice and assistance we can offer and to get answers to general questions about probate and trust administration including:
- What do the trust administration and probate processes involve?
- Who should get legal assistance with probate or trust administration?
- How can an Oklahoma City probate and trust administration lawyer help?
What Is Involved With Probate & Trust Administration & Oklahoma?
If someone has passed away, that person’s property and assets must be managed carefully to protect their value after the death. The property and assets also need to be valued to determine if estate taxes are owed, and must be transferred to new owners. This is not as simple as the relatives of the deceased person just taking control over the assets.
There are formal processes in place which are designed to ensure that the proper amounts of taxes are paid; that creditors have a chance to make claims on the estate; and that the assets are transferred to the appropriate people. These processes are called probate and trust administration.
Trust administration is the process used when the deceased person created a trust during his lifetime and funded that trust with assets. Only the assets owned by the trust will be distributed through the trust administration process. A trustee who was named in the original trust document will oversee the process. The trust administration process will occur outside of court, except in certain situations where beneficiaries pursue claims against trustees for not fulfilling their obligations.
Probate is the process used for property which is not held in trust, which is not jointly owned, and which otherwise does not transfer automatically. During probate, the validity of a will is determined or family members who will inherit are identified through intestate succession rules. The will should have named an executor, who will be responsible for overseeing the probate process. The process will take place in court. If there is no executor named or the named person doesn’t wish to serve as executor, the probate court judge will appoint a personal representative who has to take control over the probate process.
Who Should Get Legal Assistance with Probate or Trust Administration?
Both a trustee and an executor are expected to manage the property of the deceased person and to take the technical steps required to provide appropriate notice, value assets, pay taxes, and transfer assets. Executors can also be put in the position of defending a will against a will contest.
Both executors and trustees are considered fiduciaries, which means they owe the highest duty under the law to the deceased and to those who stand to inherit. If an executor or trustee takes actions which are in conflict with the best interest of heirs or beneficiaries, this can lead to serious legal problems. Trustees and executors should strongly consider being represented by a lawyer during trust administration and probate so they can fulfill their roles properly.
Heirs, beneficiaries, and close family members of the deceased may also wish to get legal help to ensure their own rights to an inheritance are protected and to make sure the instructions of the deceased are being followed so his or her wishes are respected.
Give us a call today at (405) 843-6100 in Oklahoma City to find out more about the assistance we can provide to executors, trustees, beneficiaries, and relatives or friends of the deceased. You can also contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team and learn more about the assistance we offer.