When someone dies without a Living Trust that identifies how his/her estate is to be distributed, the estate goes into Probate. It’s a court-supervised process that begins with naming an Administrator to manage the process. While Probate can sound daunting, it is actually a very methodical process. Guideway assists the Administrator through each step of the Probate process.

The Role of the Administrator

The administrator will gain access to the decedent’s records to understand the financial landscape.

The Administrator is responsible for:

  • Managing the deceased person’s estate; depending on its complexity, this will take at least several months. If the estate is complex, it can take several years.
  • Assessing the value of the estate, identifying the extent of debt and paying creditors.
  • Overseeing the allocation of assets, which may include real estate, securities or other property. If there are outstanding debts, but most of the estate is tied up in real estate, high-value artwork or other collections, they likely will have to be appraised and sold to generate cash to pay creditors.

Additional Steps in the Probate Process:

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    When all debts have been satisfied and the estate is in a condition to be closed, a petition is prepared and filed with the court to distribute the estate among the deceased person’s heirs.

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    Once the court has approved the Probate, the Administrator will be able to gain access to all of the decedent’s records to fully understand the financial landscape, including bank statements, savings accounts and income tax returns.

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    As part of the court-mandated process, Administrators are required to keep careful records of all transactions and valuations. During Probate, the deceased’s estate becomes a separate tax entity, so the Administrator must obtain a federal identification number and open a bank account in the name of the estate, from which to pay creditors. It is also necessary to file the estate’s tax return and a final individual tax return.

Guideway’s Flat Fee Probate

There is sometimes a misunderstanding that Probate requires the services of an attorney, but if your Probate is uncontested — if no one in your family is challenging the normal process of valuing assets, identifying debts and settling the estate accordingly – then we can assist you and save a significant amount of money. While attorneys price Probate by their hourly fees or a percentage of the estate’s value, Guideway provides expert and comprehensive Probate services for one flat fee: $6,000.  No surprises and no hidden costs for administrative fees or other add-ons from us.  The court and other agencies will charge filing fees.  We’ll be happy to explain all the costs, so feel free to give us a call.

Guideway Tip

Avoid Probate. Create a Living Trust.

Probate rarely benefits beneficiaries; it can be expensive and time-consuming, a difficult burden at a time when families are already dealing with loss and grief. We encourage everyone to create a Living Trust, identifying precisely how your assets will be distributed among your loved ones. A Living Trust is an important part of life planning and is one of the most thoughtful things you can do for your family.

If your Probate is uncontested, we can save you thousands over the cost of an attorney. We can help.

Contact us today. We help our clients through every step of the process.