Estate & Trust Administration

Our skilled attorneys have experience in determining the best path forward after the death of an individual regarding carrying out the terms of their estate plan. If an individual dies without an estate plan in place (dies intestate), the laws of the state govern who is to receive assets. Typically, will-based estate plans and estates with no estate plan go through a court-supervised process of administration called probate. The person nominated to administer the estate is called the personal representative or executor. If an individual dies with a trust-based plan, the nominated trustee of such trust will need assistance in the trust administration process. Both the trust administration and probate processes involve several steps that the personal representative or trustee will need to take as a part of their duties. Attorneys at Navigate can guide trustees and personal representatives through these processes in both Washington and Oregon.

Our Estate and Trust Administration Services Include:

  • Analysis regarding probate alternatives for estate administration. 
  • Representing the personal representative of an estate through the probate process.
  • Representing the trustee of a trust through the trust administration process.
  • Preparing small estate affidavits and lack of probate affidavits. 
  • Preparing estate tax returns and income tax returns.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is probate?

    Probate is the court-supervised process of administering a decedent’s estate. If the decedent died with a will, probate proves the will to be the last will and testament of the decedent. If the decedent died without a will, the state’s default rules govern the distribution of the estate assets. There are several steps to administering an estate that a personal representative must complete before the assets of the estate can be distributed. These steps include giving notice to the correct persons, identifying and notifying creditors, locating and securing assets of the estate, paying any debts of the estate, and filing all required tax returns. 

    How much does a probate cost?

    The cost of each probate varies greatly depending on the complexity of the issues involved. Generally, attorneys bill on an hourly basis and the attorney’s fees are paid out of the estate.

    How do I administer a trust?

    The trust administration process involves several steps. Unlike a probate administration, a trust administration generally does not involve court supervision, but the trustee has several important duties he or she must abide by. The first step is to review the trust agreement and all documents relating to what type of assets are in the trust and the value of those assets. Other steps include taking custody of trust assets, choosing how to invest trust assets, giving proper notice to beneficiaries and creditors, paying debts, taxes, and final expenses, and distributing trust assets.

    Our Estate & Trust Administration Attorneys


     Josi R. Howard

    Josi R. Howard

    Senior Attorney

    Estate Planning | Estate & Trust Administration

    James C. Howe

    James C. Howe


    ​Estate Planning | Estate & Trust Administration | Business Law | ​Real Estate

    I have used Navigate Law Group on several occasions and referred many people to them. They are very smart, diligent, hard-working, and ………….THEY CARE! They listen to you, and they care about your case and the cost. Navigate found a way to reduce overhead and increase efficiency without sacrificing quality, all with a goal of treating you like family. If you want attorneys with a heart, this is who you call.

    – Paul Smith

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