Probate and Estate Administration
and Trust Settlement
Many people become involved with administering an estate at some point. It may result from being named the personal representative (executor) of an estate, a Trustee of a trust, or beneficiary of an estate.
New Hampshire and Vermont Probate and Estate Administration
Probate and estate administration cover the entire legal process necessary to settle a person’s estate after death. The appointed representative (usually a family member) opens the probate case in court. With the court’s help, they’ll work through all the financial business the decedent left behind. This includes disposing of personal property, money, real property, or anything else the deceased owned at the time of their death. Estate administration also deals with any debts. You can get advice and support from a probate attorney in New Hampshire and Vermont.
The Probate Process
A number of steps must be taken between death and the distribution of assets. Though each estate is unique, common steps include:
- Filing a petition with the appropriate probate court
- Notifying beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors of the estate administration
- Appointing the executor or administrator
- Inventorying and appraising estate assets
- Reviewing claims filed by creditors
- Paying approved claims
- Selling assets if the estate lacks liquidity
- Preparing and paying estate taxes
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries and/or heirs
Caldwell Law can help you understand and manage your role as a personal representative while navigating the estate administration process in New Hampshire and Vermont. If you are creating an estate plan and want to avoid probate court, a probate attorney offers strategies involving trusts, joint titles, payable-on-death accounts, and transfer-on-death accounts.
New Hampshire and Vermont Trust Administration
When your loved one dies, leaving you as their trustee, you are responsible for their trust’s administration. For many, trust administration is an unfamiliar process with many deadlines and actions that can feel overwhelming.
What is the Role of the Trustee?
A trustee takes legal ownership of the assets held by a trust and assumes responsibility for managing those assets and carrying out the trust’s objectives. Our firm can help you understand and manage your role as a trustee while navigating the trust settlement process in New Hampshire and Vermont.
Trustee responsibilities can include:
- Administering the trust. The trustee must follow and administer the trust according to its exact terms. The trustee must not deviate from the terms of the trust.
- Treating beneficiaries fairly. The trustee must act impartially if a trust names two or more beneficiaries. The trustee can’t favor one beneficiary, or a group of beneficiaries, over others.
- Maintaining records. The trustee must keep complete, accurate, and detailed records of all income collected, expenses, purchases, sales, and other transactions of the trust.
- Filing taxes and paying debts. The trustee is responsible for filing taxes and paying debts at death and the expenses incurred in settling the estate.
At Caldwell Law, our Lebanon, New Hampshire, law firm practices estate planning and elder law, including long-term care and Medicaid planning, probate administration and trust settlement, fiduciary services, and title services.
If you live in New Hampshire or Vermont, and are an executor or a trustee of an estate or trust in either of those states, contact us for a consultation with an attorney today. We would be happy to answer your questions and help make estate settlement work for you.