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Probate and Trust Administration Attorney

Transferring Assets after Death

How an Idaho Probate Attorney Can Assist You in Wealth Transfer to the Intended Beneficiaries

What is Idaho Probate and Trust Administration?

When a loved one passes away, their Executor or Trustee must handle the process of transferring their assets to the intended beneficiaries. This process can be accomplished through the Idaho court process called probate or if the decedent’s assets were titled in a trust, by a trust administration. Most probate issues need the assistance of an Idaho Probate attorney to navigate through the Court process.

Idaho Probate v. Idaho Trust Administration

Although people often confuse the Idaho probate process with an Idaho trust administration, they are not the same thing. The probate process is about transferring a decedent’s assets to the correct beneficiaries with the involvement of the local probate court. Assets owned by a trust will typically be distributed to the beneficiaries of the trust without court involvement.

Regardless of whether a probate or trust administration is required, the estate settlement process generally involves seven separate phases: including 1) the inventory of documents and finances, 2) valuation of assets, 3) redemption of insurance, annuities, and retirement plans, 4) payment of expenses and claims, 5) tracking of income, 6) payment of taxes, and 7) distribution of assets to the beneficiaries or heirs.

Idaho Probate Procedure

The Idaho probate process is a court proceeding that allows the court-appointed Personal Representative (Executor or Administrator) of the estate to have legal authority to re-title assets from the decedent’s name into the names of the decedent’s beneficiaries. The Idaho probate is administered by the local district court usually assigned to a magistrate judge. Idaho allows for both formal (supervised by the court) and informal (unsupervised) probates.

If the decedent passed away with a valid will, it will control the appointment of the Personal Representative/Executor and the distribution of property. On the other hand, if the decedent passed away without a will, an Idaho court will decide who to appoint as Personal Representative (Administrator), and Idaho law will determine who is entitled to receive the property. In either case, the court-appointed representative (Executor or Administrator) must collect the assets, pay creditors of the estate, and distribute assets to the beneficiaries. All interested parties must be informed of the proceedings and a notice must be published in the local paper. Interested parties will have an opportunity to challenge the will. Any person or business owed money by the decedent must have a chance to make a claim against the estate. Once the process is complete, the representative provides the heirs and the court with a final accounting and a closing statement, and the probate is closed.

Costs for an Idaho Probate

Snake River Law PLLC, your Idaho Probate lawyer, charges guaranteed flat rates for its informal probate services. An informal probate is typically between $500-$700.00 (+publication fees if necessary) which includes all court costs and the recording of one personal representative deed. Formal probates are more difficult to administer and can vary between $700-$2,000.00 depending on the complexity of the case.

Idaho Trust Administration

Unlike probate, trust administration does not involve the courts–so long as the assets were properly titled in the name of the trust prior to death and no one contests the trust. Look to the trust document to understand your powers as a trustee. The principal sources of your Trustee powers are the trust itself. You will see that the trust contains two types of provisions: dispositive provisions that govern the distribution of property and administrative provisions that govern the power of the trustee, payment of taxes and expenses, rules for interpreting the trust instrument, and other procedural issues.

If there are assets titled in the name of a trust as well as assets titled individually in the name of the decedent, it may be necessary to conduct both a probate and a trust administration. In either case, when you serve as Trustee, you are personally responsible for the payment of taxes and creditors if the trust administration is handled improperly. An Idaho Trust Administration attorney can assist you through this process and answer any questions regarding trust administration.

Who Benefits from an Idaho Probate or Trust Administration?

As the Executor or Administrator of a probate estate or the Trustee of a trust administration, you have significant responsibilities and liabilities. Obtaining proper counsel and advice is critical to ensuring you carry out your responsibilities in a manner that minimizes personal liability. If the estate administration is handled improperly, you may be subject to personal liability. Counsel with an Idaho Trust Administration lawyer will help you handle the following situations properly:

  • Inventorying and distributing assets
  • Correct document interpretation of legal documents
  • Dealing with difficult beneficiaries
  • Addressing income and estate tax issues
  • Avoiding personal liability as a fiduciary
  • Properly completing and filing court documents if necessary

What Should You Expect During the Planning Process?

The first step in the estate administration process is to talk with Jessica Turner, our Client Services Coordinator. You can call her at 208-406-9885. Jessica will ask you a few questions about your needs and let you know how our firm works and what to expect. If you would like to schedule an initial meeting with an attorney, Jessica will send you Probate or Trust Administration packet, which describes the information you will need to gather to start the process.

The packet also includes an Estate Administration Information Worksheet. The initial meeting is a working meeting, and we want you to get as much out of it as possible. Jessica can help you if you have any questions.

At your initial meeting with attorney Mark R Petersen, we will set forth expectations regarding complexity, time frame, fees, and potential pitfalls.

Give us a call at (208) 406-9885 to schedule your Idaho Probate or Trust Administration strategy session.

Snake River Law PLLC serves the Eastern and Southeastern Idaho area including, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Blackfoot, Ammon, Burley, Rupert, American Falls, Aberdeen, Malad City, Soda Springs, Preston, and Montpelier.

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Phone: (208) 406-9885
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