Have You Been Entrusted With An Estate Administration?
Acting as the administrator of an estate or trust is a big legal responsibility. You should feel honored that your loved ones have entrusted you with this role, but you may also feel overwhelmed. The legal steps required in either probate or trust administration are not simple or intuitive. You may also still be mourning the loss of a loved one while trying to figure out your new role.
Allow me to help you navigate the process. I am Matthew T. Stillman, J.D., LL.M. At Stillman & Associates, LLC, I assist clients with all types of probate and trust administration issues and help them complete the required steps. I serve people in Guilford and throughout the area.
The Probate Process In Connecticut
Most probates in Connecticut will go through the probate court system. If the person died with a will, the court will appoint you as the executor of the estate and you will administer the estate according to the terms of the will. If they died without a will, or intestate, the court may appoint you as the administrator. Either way, you will have many steps you must follow to complete the probate, including:
- Filing the will with the probate court and petitioning the court to begin the probate process
- Notifying all heirs, devisees, creditors and other interested parties of the probate
- Creating an inventory of all assets and debts belonging to the decedent
- Liquidating all assets, if appropriate, such as selling real estate
- Paying taxes, legitimate debts and costs of administration
- Filing a financial report with the court
- Distributing the remaining assets and asking the court to close out the case
If an estate has less than $40,000 and no real estate, you may be able to use a simplified process. I can help you understand exactly what steps you must take in your situation, while also helping you fulfill your duty under the law.
Fulfilling Your Role As A Trustee
Whether you are the initial trustee in a newly formed trust or you are taking over from someone who can no longer act as a trustee, you have many legal obligations as a trustee. A trustee is a fiduciary, just as is the executor of an estate. This means that you have a legal duty to take care of the money in the trust and act in the best interests of the trust as a whole, rather than any individual beneficiary.
Your role may include:
- Filing certain documents with the court
- Send notices to the beneficiaries
- File taxes, when necessary
- Keeping an accounting of all assets and expenditures
- Selling or acquiring assets
These are just examples of common tasks, but the terms of your trust may require others. I will help you understand your role as the trustee and the tasks required by your particular trust.
People often ask whether they can be compensated for the time they spend on an estate or trust administration. The answer is that you can use estate funds to pay reasonable costs for administering the probate or trust and that includes paying yourself a modest wage.
You Don’t Have To Do It Alone
Administering a probate or a trust estate is complex and requires a detailed knowledge of the law. I am here to help you fulfill your role. Call 860-764-2980 or reach out online to schedule an appointment.