Trust and Estate Administration
Guiding You Through Estate Settlement
Our trust and estate administration services help to ease administration at your death or disability for your loved ones. We counsel, settle, and administer your estate plan with the family according to your wishes.
What Is Trust and Estate Administration?
The term covers the settlement and management of your affairs in the event of your death or disability, both if you have a trust or a will-based estate plan. If you have a trust, this means “trust settlement”, which includes the implementation of all the instructions in your trust. If you only have a will, then this usually requires formal probate.
You have spent time and money to create your estate plan, and years keeping it up to date. Therefore, you want to ensure your estate plan is used correctly at the time of your disability or death. Your agents and trustees are responsible for complying both with the law and your trust or will. We are here to help.
What’s Included – Trust Administration?
Your trustees and agents are responsible for protecting your assets and implementing your wishes. A partial list of those duties include: (i) ensuring your trust is properly funded (ii) transferring assets such as life insurance and retirement assets to your trust, (iii) obtaining tax IDs and filing tax returns, (iv) using your trust assets for your care while you are disabled, and (v) creating trust shares and distributing assets to your beneficiaries after you die. Even with a trust, if there are assets still in your name, then probate is required.
We are here to help. Depending on the situation and your trustees’ abilities, we can either coach them through the estate administration process or do it all for them.
What’s Included – Estate Administration Without A Trust?
With no trust, even if you have a last will, then probate will be required upon your death. In the event of your disability (incompetency), a formal guardianship hearing with the Probate court may be required. We provide no “coaching service” in the event of probate. As a result, we would need to be retained as the attorney of record with the Probate court. Currently, we are not providing probate services to the general public. In most cases, we reserve our probate services only for our existing trust clients, or their family members who die without a trust.
Matthew A. Ferri, J.D., M.B.A., is the Founder and Principal of LifeFocus Planning®, a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan estate planning law firm. He is an estate planning attorney with offices in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and Shelby Township, Michigan.