Issues can arise at any stage of the trust or estate administration process. You might not even know a problem is occurring until it forces your attention. Not creating a legally binding estate plan while you are still alive and competent can delay settling your estate, and inadvertently distribute assets to those you might not want to have them.
Whether you need help creating an estate plan that fits your assets and lifestyle, or need guidance on acting as a fiduciary, the knowledgeable attorneys at Midgett Preti Olansen PC are here to help.
A trust and estate law attorney can provide you with various services pertaining to the complex laws and procedures involved in estate planning and administration. These services include the following.
Trust administration requires taking steps to manage the property included in a trust and meeting all the terms involved regarding the beneficiaries. Trust property may be tangible, such as real estate, and intangible, such as financial investments, life insurance policies, etc.
The trust administration process can be overwhelmingly complex due to the details and complexities of the trust document, and potential disputes among family members. A trust attorney can help facilitate the process and meet the deceased’s legal requirements and wishes. You can expect your trust and estate attorney to review all trust documentation, notify each heir or beneficiary, deal with financial, tax and accounting matters, and, if necessary, serve as a mediator between disputing parties.
Preparing inheritance or estate tax returns can be a time-consuming and anxiety-producing process. A trust and estate attorney can help compile the necessary documentation to complete these tax returns accurately and timely and represent you before federal and state tax authorities should issues arise later on.
When it comes time to distribute the estate’s assets to beneficiaries, you must be diligent about keeping accurate records. A qualified trust and estate attorney can determine which assets, and how much, go to which beneficiary according to the estate planning documents, and distribute those assets for you to meet all legal requirements.
To help ease the burden of trust or estate administration, your attorney can provide fiduciary services. This type of service means they can serve as an administrator, executor, or trustee, depending on what is needed. They can also serve as trust advisors to help you navigate the intricacies of federal and state laws, fiduciary accounting requirements, income taxes and estate taxes.
The probate process involves effectuating the transfer of assets of a deceased individual in an orderly way while oversight and accountability is provided by a Commissioner of Accounts for the fiduciary and each beneficiary of the estate. The process requires numerous steps (e.g., a Probate Tax Return, List of Heirs and Inventory) and fees, which an attorney knowledgeable in probate law in the Commonwealth of Virginia can navigate.
A qualified attorney will also assist you with all other services you may need to complete your estate administration, including legal matters involving real estate, elder law, family law, business law, and even litigation.
Contact our Virginia Beach office to find out more ways our trust and estate attorneys can help. In addition to those services listed above, we can assist you with basic estate planning, including powers of attorney, advance medical directives, and guardianships for minor children. If you are a business owner, we can also help with business succession planning.
Establishing a trust is one way to protect assets. Yet, the type of trust you have can affect whether the disposition of the trust assets will be subject to the Virginia probate system. One of the most common types of trusts is the revocable living trust.
Establishing a revocable trust allows you to transfer your assets directly into the trust while you are living. These assets may include real estate, bank and investment accounts, tangible personal property, antiques, collectibles, fine art, intellectual property, business interests, and more. Once transferred, the trust owns those assets and not you personally.
Unlike irrevocable trusts, a revocable trust allows you to retain control of the assets as the trustee, with the ability to modify, amend, or change the terms of the trust during your lifetime. You can also continue to move assets into or out of the revocable trust, amend the trust or even dissolve it altogether.
Once you pass away, the revocable trust becomes irrevocable, and your designated successor trustee will be responsible for taking over and conducting trust administration and distribution of the trust assets to beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust document. Among the many positive benefits of a revocable living trust are that you can avoid the public and potentially expensive probate process, avoid family conflict by providing a detailed plan of distribution, and even create long-term trusts to take care of disabled or spendthrift beneficiaries, and protect their inheritance from creditors, predators and other bad actors.
Being designated as an Executor of an estate can feel overwhelming and tedious, especially when you are still grieving the loss of a loved one. It can also make you anxious due to the complex laws surrounding estate administration.
Executors have several responsibilities when it comes to administering an estate, including paying the final health care bills of the deceased loved one, preparing accounting records, filing tax returns, and communicating with and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
Depending on the circumstances and legal documentation in place, you may or may not also have to go through the probate process. If the deceased had a trust in place, you would still need to take steps to administer the terms of that trust and follow their wishes. If only a will is in place, you are responsible for administering the estate according to its terms and state laws.
If you become overwhelmed as an estate executor, contact an experienced trust and estate attorney with Midgett Preti Olansen. We will help guide you through the process and complex laws in Virginia. Our law firm can also provide fiduciary services and accounting, prepare and file income and estate tax returns, communicate with beneficiaries, and more.
The probate process in Virginia consists of a range of time frames, and how long it takes will depend on your specific situation. Understandably, complications, as well as family disputes, can arise, delaying the process even more.
You should start probate within the recommended 30 days from the date of death of your loved one. In general, the probate process in Virginia can take from six months to more than a year. If you have concerns about how long it takes to probate an estate, seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Few individuals are familiar with the situation they find themselves in when being named an executor of a will or a trustee of a trust. Our trust and estate planning attorneys can assist with preparing estate, gift and income tax returns, filing inventories with the commissioner of accounts, making timely distributions, and qualifying as the estate’s personal representative.
A myriad of issues can arise during a trust and estate administration process, but you do not have to go through it alone. The Virginia Beach law firm of Midgett Preti Olansen can provide timely and accurate counsel for all your estate and trust needs..
The time required to plan, prepare and manage both your estate plan and the administration process can be time-consuming and, at times, overwhelming, complicating your life even further. The Virginia Beach law office of Midgett Preti Olansen, serving residents throughout the Hampton Roads area, is committed to providing timely and accurate guidance in trust and estate administration and estate planning.
You can gain peace of mind by calling our office today at 757-687-8888 or using our convenient online contact form to schedule a consultation with an experienced Virginia Beach trust and estate attorney. We value our relationships with our clients and proudly serve the entire Hampton Roads area, including Chesapeake, Norfolk, Newport News, and Portsmouth.