Estate and Trust Administration
Each of the attorneys at Midgett Preti Olansen is experienced in the administration of probate estates, revocable and irrevocable trusts and taxable estates. For many individuals, acting as a fiduciary, whether it be as an Executor under a Will or a Trustee of a Trust, is an unfamiliar situation. Because of our experience in these matters, executors and administrators seek our counsel to assist them with the process of qualifying as the personal representative for an estate, determining which assets come under their control, obtaining the proper value of those assets, filing inventories and accountings with the Commissioner of Accounts, preparing individual and fiduciary income tax returns, preparing gift and estate tax returns and making timely distributions under the estate (whether by will or by statute). There are myriad issues which tend to arise during the estate and trust administration process, including spousal claims, assets passing outside the will or trust to family members, sale of real estate, reinvestment of assets and related tax matters, advancements to be charged against a beneficiary, and so on.
The popularity of revocable “living” trusts has affected the number of estates administered under the probate system in Virginia, but it also means that these trusts must be administered (albeit privately). Many decedents who established living trusts did not fully fund them (in other words, re-title assets into the name of their trust), requiring those assets to be administered through the very probate system they sought to avoid. Until the assets are passed through probate and legally transferred to the trust, the intended wishes of the decedent cannot be carried out, and the beneficiaries of the trust cannot receive their inheritance.
Given the number and significance of issues which can (and do) arise in the administration of an estate or trust, no matter how small or large, experienced counsel is advisable for all fiduciaries. Our commitment is to provide timely and accurate guidance to our executor, administrator, trustee and conservator clients so that they may meet the various fiduciary obligations to the beneficiaries of the estate or trust which they administer.