When someone dies, they leave affairs that need to be addressed, children and pets to be cared for, assets to be transferred, and businesses to be wrapped up. There is any number of ways to avoid the need for probate administration.
But if a family member or loved one dies without having taken advantage of those options, the courts of the county where the decedent resided when he or she passed away are charged with the administration of the decedent’s estate. Formal administration deals with estates that have $75,000 or more of non-exempt assets. A summary administration is a little less expensive and faster to resolve and can be used where the non-exempt assets are below $75,000 or when the decedent passed away over two years ago.
If a probate administration is needed, it will not matter whether the decedent had a will or died without one – the latter circumstance being referred to as an intestate estate. If a person has been nominated in a will to serve as the personal representative, he or she will need to petition the court to be appointed as such.
If there is no will, someone will need to petition for an appointment by the court. The probate process is somewhat tedious, so we assist you in doing the heavy lifting. We prepare the documents, tell you specifically what to do at each stage of the administration, and file all of the paperwork to make your job as easy as possible.
Trust and Probate Litigation
There can be many disagreements that arise following a loved one’s death as to the administration and disbursements of their assets. Often there can be last-minute changes to estate planning documents, or a will or trust may have been signed while the decedent was suffering from mental incapacity.
Undue influence may have been exerted. Sometimes a personal representative or trustee may take inappropriate action. At Englander Fischer, we are prepared to handle all types of estate litigation claims, including but not limited to:
- Breach of fiduciary duty of a personal representative or trustee
- Will or trust construction
- Homestead litigation
- Removal of a personal representative or trustee
- Compensation disputes
Litigation is in our firm’s DNA. Our goal is to provide strong advocacy with personalized service. Please contact us to consult on the specifics of your case.
Our lawyers confidently shepherd cases through pleadings, discovery, mediation, trial and appellate processes. Because business disputes are financially draining, we always explore and work toward resolution whenever possible. Better than 90% of our cases are settled before trial. In every case, we tailor our strategy according to our clients’ needs and actively discuss and pursue ways to resolve a claim as soon and as often as possible.
Our firm is committed to four non-negotiable cultural practices: Quality Work, Collegiality, Respect and Courageous Professionalism.
In addition to, or as part of assisting with formal and summary probate administrations and trust administrations, Englander Fischer can assist with:
Intestate distribution (when the decedent leaves no will)
Will contests, breach of fiduciary duty suits and other probate and trust litigation
Procedures to avoid and limit the possibility of a will contest or other litigation
Responsibilities and liabilities of the personal representative or trustee
Rights and limitations of beneficiaries
Marshalling and preserving assets
Business continuity for the decedent’s enterprises
Evaluating issues concerning property exempt from creditors
Elective share of surviving spouse
Minimizing estate taxes
Timing of distributions
Obtaining receipts and releases
Closing estates and trusts