Raleigh Estate Administration Attorney
When a loved one dies, the administration of the estate can be complicated, even in cases where the person had plans in place. So it’s important to get it right from the beginning.
“My husband had recently retired and we felt it was time to create a plan for the future. Our plan is comprehensive and well designed. Andrew helped us make choices that will be relevant in the future.”– Former Client
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Executors, administrators, trustees, and beneficiaries all have unique rights and roles to play in the probate process. The knowledgeable Raleigh estate lawyers at the Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC, have more than 35 years of experience helping families navigate this complex process. We understand the emotional and financial pressures surviving family members may be dealing with, so we work to ensure estates are handled efficiently and correctly from the start.
Our experienced lawyers handle every type and every size of estate. Whether you are responsible for administering an estate or are a beneficiary with questions, our law firm can help. Contact us today.
How Our Raleigh Estate Administration Attorneys Can Help You
Estate administration — also known as probate — is the process of settling the legal and financial affairs of someone who has died. Although some smaller estates can be administered without the assistance of an attorney, more complex cases require a lawyer’s involvement.
When you’re dealing with probate, it’s important to remember that it is a complex and time-consuming process. You’ll have to petition the probate court to get started, satisfy the court’s requirements, and even then, there is still a long road ahead. It can be difficult to pull together all the assets and property of an estate, to value the assets, and to settle the estate’s debts. Through all of this, family disputes and other conflicts may occur. Our experienced Raleigh estate administration lawyers know how to navigate all of these problems and find a solution that works.
Whether you are just starting probate or already moving through the process, our law firm is here to help. Our trusted legal team can provide:
Help for Executors
Executors have many duties in overseeing an estate. They must work with the probate court, gather estate assets, value them, pay debts, and distribute assets. It’s a lot of work subject to a variety of laws and rules. Executors must fulfill their duties and the terms of the will, or it can open them up to liability. Being an executor can seem like an overwhelming task, but our dedicated attorneys can help you succeed.
In any estate administration, the probate court will be involved. Our attorneys can help you petition the court, get the will admitted, and obtain the letters testamentary that will allow you to fulfill your duties.
Gathering assets can be more difficult than you might think. Oftentimes, wills are out of date and may refer to assets that no longer exist. An estate may also include assets that are not contemplated by the will. In some cases, the decedent has assets that are not obvious to the executor and may require detective work to locate. Our skilled lawyers have experience finding and gathering assets together for clients. It can save you time and money to have an experienced attorney handle these duties.
Valuing assets is never easy, and it’s important to get it right. Even a minor overvaluation or undervaluation of assets can cause problems for the beneficiaries and executors. Some assets may require professional valuation: for example, collectibles, real estate, and unique items. These valuations can have significant effects on the value of the estate, the taxes it’s subject to, and how much beneficiaries receive. Our lawyers can arrange thorough, professional valuation that can help you get through the process quickly.
One of the most important aspects of settling an estate is paying the debts. When a person passes away, his or her creditors may be entitled to the money they are owed. All debts of the decedent must be handled by the estate. Oftentimes, it isn’t clear to creditors when someone passes away. They need quick, official notification that someone is deceased and that their debts will be settled. In some cases, the debts of the decedent (the person who passed away) may be unknown and will need to be determined. Our lawyers can help you notify creditors and settle the decedent’s debts in the most efficient way possible.
An executor is a powerful and trusted position. It’s not one that you’re required to accept. However, if you do accept, you can rely on others for advice and guidance. Our respected estate attorneys can help you fulfill your duties and honor a decedent’s will.
Help for Administrators
Administrators, like executors, are responsible for prudently managing an estate and its assets. Administrators are usually appointed when someone dies without a will. If there was no executor provided for by the decedent, your appointment as an administrator may be unexpected. As an administrator, you’ll have to fulfill many of the same duties as an executor and meet many of the same standards of care. You’ll need to gather assets, value them, and settle any debts related to the estate.
Administrators will often be subject to more scrutiny and court management than executors. You’ll have to follow many court rules and North Carolina state laws that govern how an estate is handled in the absence of a will. Our dedicated lawyers can help guide you through the process and make sure that you’re abiding by all the requirements of your position.
Help for Trustees
A trustee is someone who is named to handle trusts established in a will or other device. As a trustee, you’ll need to manage the assets of the trust and make sure that they’re correctly structured for the beneficiary ─ the person who will benefit from the trust. You’ll need to understand the terms of the trust, the assets it holds, and make sure they’re competently managed for the beneficiaries.
Our knowledgeable Raleigh trust attorneys can help you make sense of the trust and ensure that it’s managed properly. We can help you get accounting and valuation of assets, keep the detailed records that are required, and choose prudent investments for the trust assets.
We can also help modify trusts in accordance with the trust terms and the law. Sometimes trusts need to be modified depending on changes in beneficiaries and assets. Any modification will require court approval and will be subject to review. If you need to modify a trust, our attorneys can help guide you through the process.
Help for Beneficiaries
Beneficiaries of trusts and estates can face their own unique issues. Sometimes the terms of a will or a trust can come as a shock to a beneficiary, and they’ll need to investigate. Other times, beneficiaries may be unprepared to inherit wealth and they’ll need guidance. Tax issues, inheritance laws, and many other rules may be involved. When you are a beneficiary, you have rights, and our attorneys can help you protect them.
As a beneficiary of a trust or will, you are entitled to information about the estate assets, accounting, and the inheritance you’ve been given. If you need to fight for those rights during the probate process, our lawyers can help. Our dedicated legal team knows how to work with courts, executors, and administrators to ensure a fair and impartial administration of the estate.
Our attorneys can also help if you have problems related to the administration of an estate or issues with distribution of estate assets. Although beneficiaries are receiving the benefits of a will or trust, they don’t need to merely accept what they’re given. In some cases, executors and administrators improperly or incorrectly manage estates and their assets. As a beneficiary, you’re entitled to stand up for your rights. Our attorneys can help you do that.
At any stage of the probate process, an experienced estate administration attorney can provide trusted advice and direction. Perhaps a loved one has passed away and you’ve been named as an executor. You might be a beneficiary of a will and have questions about the probate process. You may have outstanding questions about the management and administration of a loved one’s estate. No matter what aspect of estate administration you’re dealing with, our legal team is here to help.
What to Expect in Probate Court
A probate court exists to help people deal with estates. The court will determine whether a will is valid, and if so, it will work to make sure the will is enforced. The court will oversee executors, ensure debts are paid, and oversee many other aspects of managing an estate. A probate court has a significant amount of power over the management and disposition of an estate.
When you need to begin the process of administering an estate, the first step is to file a petition with the court. If you’re named as executor or were in another position of authority for the decedent, you’ll be the one to do this. The court will examine the petition along with the will to determine whether probate can move forward. The court will decide whether the will is valid, and if it is, the court will record key details about the estate and move the process forward.
The court will then issue an order that admits the will to probate, and the court will appoint the executor or administrator. If someone is named as executor in the will, he or she typically will be selected by the court. If there is no executor available, or the decedent died without a will (intestate), the court will appoint an administrator. Executors and administrators have a tremendous amount of power over the estate and its assets, and they will have to swear an oath to the court to uphold their duties.
The court will then issue the executor or administrator a document titled, “letters testamentary.” This document allows the executor to begin the process of administering the estate. It will allow the executor to act as a fiduciary of the estate and a manager of the estate’s assets. It’s an important document that shows the authority of the executor or administrator to handle the settling of the estate.
If there are any challenges to the estate, a probate court will handle them. The probate court can decide everything about a will from its validity to its interpretation. Probate is a complex and time-consuming process, and it’s important to get things right the first time. If you’re starting the process of probate, or you have concerns about a will, our knowledgeable attorneys can help you understand how to move forward.
Our Raleigh Estate Administration Lawyers Are Here to Take the Pressure Off You
At the Brady Cobin Law Group, we pride ourselves on providing thoughtful solutions to our clients who are going through the estate administration process. Whether you’re about to begin a probate process or you’re already involved in administering an estate, we have the knowledge and resources to help you succeed.
Estate administration is an opportunity to honor someone’s legacy. When you oversee an estate, you’re helping distribute resources the way your loved one wanted.
If you have questions about any part of the probate process or need help understanding an estate plan, our knowledgeable estate administration attorneys are here for you. We’ll help you understand your rights and navigate the complex process. Contact our law office in Raleigh, N.C., today for a consultation.