Estate Planning, Probate & Guardianship
Areas of focus within estate planning, probate and guardianship.
Probate & Trust Administration
If you are a personal representative or trustee, our firm has the legal experience and knowledge to effectively assist you with the complexities of probate and trust administration to ensure that the personal representative’s and trustee’s duties and responsibilities are administered effectively and efficiently.
A personal representative has the responsibility of administering the estate in accordance with the decedent’s will or Arizona’s intestate laws. The personal representative also owes a duty to the decedent’s heirs, devisees and creditors. A personal representative may be held personally liable if he or she violates his or her statutory duties and responsibilities. Although every probate is unique, most require the following:
- Filing a petition with the proper probate court
- Notice to heirs under the Will or to statutory heirs (if no will exists)
- Inventory and appraisal of estate assets
- Payment of estate debt to rightful creditors.
Similar to the personal representative, a trustee is responsible for the administration of a trust in accordance with the trust agreement. In addition, the State of Arizona adopted the Arizona Trust Code, outlining a trustee’s duties and responsibilities, including keeping beneficiaries properly informed. Failure to administer the trust properly or provide adequate notice could lead to legal disputes. Our firm is able to assist the trustee in ensuring that he or she correctly administers the trust and in accordance with Arizona law.
Specific duties of a Trustee include:
- Prudent management of trust assets
- Aid in distributions to beneficiaries
- Minimize estate taxes
- Fiduciary accounting
- Delegating certain functions to experts