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.

    Estate administration (probate)

    When you die, the process of handling your affairs, managing and distributing your estate, and providing for the care of your minor children is known as estate administration. The court process of handling your estate is known as probate.

    If you die having left a valid will, you are considered to have died testate. Through the probate process, the court will authorize your chosen individual to wrap up your affairs, identify and value your property, and ensure that property is given to the people you have designated in your will. The court will also authorize the individual or individuals you have named as guardians to care for your minor children.

    If you die without a valid will in place, you are considered to have died intestate. Through probate, the court will appoint someone to identify and value your property and debts, pay your debts and last expenses, and determine the individuals who are entitled under law to receive your remaining property. The court will also determine who should care for your minor children. 

    Trust administration

    Trust administration is the ongoing process of managing the property held in trust for the benefit of your designated beneficiaries as set forth in the trust agreement. Trust administration includes working with financial professionals to invest and manage assets to produce income, payment of expenses for beneficiaries, regular communication with beneficiaries as to the health and status of the trust, and ensuring that when it’s time, the beneficiaries receive their fair share of the assets of the trust.

    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

    Dainen N. Penta

    Dainen N. Penta

    Senior Attorney

    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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