Trust Administration &
What do you need to know?
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is not easy. It can take a toll on you mentally, physically and emotionally. So when it comes to administering your estate, we are here to help. Our Law Firm strongly believes that one of the best things that you can do, is to first, create and maintain an estate plan that will benefit you when it matters most.
In the event that one of our clients passes away, we offer the Successor Trustee or Personal Representative a complimentary meeting to go over the next steps to take.
Avoiding probate is one of the reasons why many people choose to create a Living Trust. The administration of a Trust is easier and less expensive then what it would be to carry out a Probate. However, with every death comes administration, which can add burden to loved ones.
Creating a Living Trust can have large benefits. For married couples, these benefits and protections can actually increase if the Trust is property administered during that time. As long as the Trust has been properly funded, it allows for the protection from creditors and against the requirement to spending down your assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.
By having a properly created Living Trust upon the first death, it will allow the surviving spouse ample access to, and control over the entire estate. But it is very important to keep the Living Trust up-to-date and properly funded with your current assets. If you fail to do this, it may result in Probate, which is what you may have been trying to avoid in the first place.
Trust Administration is more preferred over Probate. But it must be done as specified in the Living Trust and in accordance with the State and Federal laws and procedures. No two states are alike.
Small Estate Probate
What estates are eligible for a Small Estate Probate? This would be estates that have a fair market value of $275,000 or less, and;
No greater than $75,000 of the fair market value of the estate is from personal property, and;
No greater than $200,000 of the fair market value of the estate is from real estate property.
How can you calculate the fair market value of the estate? "Fair Market Value" is the value of the property on the open market, which is not reduced to reflect debts owed on the property.
"Personal property" would include vehicles, bank accounts and other personal assets owned that are not real estate.
"Real property" would include all land or interests in land that you may have.
Once 30 days from the date of death have passed, a small estate affidavit can be utilized to get possession of the decedents property. The Affiant must make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills from the money in your estate. The Affiant must also certify that all creditors have been paid, or that any unpaid creditors will be sent a copy of the Affidavit (ORS 114.525). Creditors then have four months to file a claim in demand of monies owed. Once the four months have passed from the date of the Affidavit is filed with the Court, and providing no one started a formal Probate proceeding during that time, the Affiant can take possession of the property and distribute it to the property beneficiaries. (ORS 114.555).
Probate can be an involved and time consuming matter. Administration of an estate can take anywhere from several months to more than a year, depending on the size and complexity of the Estate. Someone must be appointed by the Court to serve as Personal Representative. Whoever is named as Executor of the Will gets the job. Oregon statute gives an order of priority for appointing a Personal Representative for those who die without a Will, with the spouse having top priority (ORS 113.085).
Probate can also be expensive. Personal Representative and attorney fees are significant charges to the Probate Estate; but they are not the only charges against the estate. A Probate proceeding can incur some, if not all of the following expenses:
Court filing fees
The cost of a bond that the Court may order for the protection of your Probate Estate
The cost of notifying your creditors which may include publishing notices, or mailing notices out by registered or certified mail
The cost of an appraisal
Accounting fees to prepare an inventory, and account for monies spent during Probate.
The cost of transferring property to the proper beneficiaries; i.e., recording fees, broker fees to sell securities or real estate.
You may be thinking that Probate may be a good thing to try and avoid! There are ways to arrange your estate so that your beneficiaries can immediately inherit your Estate without incurring unnecessary costs.
Call Schneider Rasche at (503) 241-1215 or contact us to find out how you can build a better plan that can save you time and money in the long run!
Estate Planning Article
These reports are compliments of Schneider Rasche LLC and were written by The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.