The loss of a loved one is emotionally devastating. You wonder what will happen to you and your family, and what you need to do first. When you add to this the need to make important financial decisions while in mourning, the whole situation can seem overwhelming. At Obenauf Law Group, our Maui probate attorneys understand how you are feeling and can help you navigate the complicated probate and trust administration processes compassionately and efficiently. We have the experience to handle every detail, no matter how complex your situation might be.
Maybe you are wondering what is involved in probating an estate? While every situation is unique, most probates involve the following:
- Locate and file the Last Will and Testament with the local court
- File required probate documents with the court
- Locate, inventory, custody, close and transfer personal assets/accounts
- Appraise and value all assets
- Pay debts and expenses associated with the last illness and funeral
- Ascertain and notify all known creditors of the estate
- Make payments to creditors, discharge obligations and obtain creditor releases
- Process and receive life insurance death benefits
- Secure personal residence and tangible personal property
- File appropriate tax returns (federal and Hawaii) and make appropriate tax elections
- Pay estate taxes and final personal income taxes
- Obtain tax releases and closing letters from local courts, the IRS and state taxing authorities
- Make specific bequests, as well as partial and final distributions to beneficiaries (including packing and shipping of tangible personal property)
- Provide complete detailed accounting to the local court and estate beneficiaries
As you can imagine, all of this is difficult enough without the added stress and grief of coping with the loss of a loved one.
The trust administration process can be extremely complex. It involves a wide range of responsibilities and duties, including statutory notice requirements, distributions to beneficiaries in the manner dictated by the trust, prompt payment of expenses, compliance with the prudent investor rule, accounting to beneficiaries and, if required, to the Court, and many more. It is important to note that failing to administer a trust properly can have serious legal and financial consequences for the trustee. If you have been named as a trustee, we can explain the process, your responsibilities, and the risks involved, as well as guide you through the process and work with any existing advisors and fiduciaries.
In short, you do not have to go through the probate and/or trust administration process alone. We are here to help every step of the way, so that you and your family can focus on what is most important: coming to terms with your loss and moving on with your lives. Contact us today for an initial consultation.