Dedication • Experience • Trust

Pastor and Associates

Probate and Trust Administration

Meyrose Blackford PLC offers comprehensive probate and estate administration services.  We have the knowledge and experience to represent you through what may be a difficult time, and to help provide for a streamlined transition of property to the beneficiaries of a decedent’s estate.

Our attorneys understand that the probate and trust administration process can be challenging and can become complicated.  It can be overwhelming to face the legal aspects of the death of a loved one. 

Personal Representative and Trustee Representation

We represent Personal Representatives, Trustees and other fiduciaries.  While it may be an honor to be nominated to administer the estate of a loved one as Personal Representative or Executor of a loved one’s Will, or as Trustee of a loved one’s Trust, this appointment creates legal responsibilities and may present many legal and practical challenges.  We represent Personal Representatives and Trustees in all aspect of the estate and trust administration process. 

We can assist with securing your formal appointment as Personal Representative or Trustee, the funding a trust, facilitation of communications amongst beneficiaries, the settling of debts and taxes, selling estate property, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and many other valuable estate administration services.

Beneficiary Representation

We represent the interests of beneficiaries to estates and trusts.  We can help ensure that your rights and interests in a decedent’s estate are protected.  When beneficiaries or heirs believe that a decedent’s estate is not being administered properly, or that a Personal Representative is not properly carrying out his or he duties, we can engage in litigation to remedy the situation. 

Probate of a Will

Our probate attorneys can assist with probate of a Will and with the process of administering and distributing the assets of the decedent’s estate. 

  • The probate of a Will means proving its authenticity in probate court.  To be admitted to probate, a Will must comply with all statutory requirements and must be testamentary in character (meaning that it does not take effect until after the testator’s death, allowing the testator to retain ownership of his or her property during his or her lifetime).  Generally, a Will must be admitted to probate before a court will allow the distribution of a decedent's property to the heirs according to its terms.  A Codicil, which is an amendment to a Will, is entitled to be probated together with the Will it modifies, if it is properly executed according to statute.

As a general rule, the original of a Will must be presented for probate.  In certain circumstances where the original Will of a decedent cannot be located or has been destroyed, formal probate of a copy or duplicate of a Will may be permitted.  A diligent and thorough search for the decedent’s Will, in addition to meeting other statutory requirements, is required before a copy of the will can be formally probated.

Probate proceedings are generally held in the state in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of death.  If the decedent owned real estate in another state, the Will disposing of the out of state real estate must additionally be admitted to probate in the other state wherein which the real estate property is located.

Probate cases often present a challenge to the courts.  They require a high degree of oversight to protect and prevent mistreatment of decedent estates, protected individuals and their property. 

Generally, the probate process involves several steps, including (but not limited to):

  1. Filing the initial probate pleadings
  2. Gathering and protecting the assets of the estate
  3. Providing notice that a probate has been opened, and publish a copy of the notice in the newspaper
  4. Inventorying the assets of the estate
  5. Determining any applicable statutory allowances
  6. Paying debts and taxes of the estate
  7. Keeping detailed records of all receipts, expenses and transactions of the estate
  8. Distributing estate assets
  9. Filing proof of compliance with statutes and court orders and eventually close the estate

We can help you manage the probate process and provide guidance regarding the most efficient and cost effective means of administering an estate, with an aim toward minimizing the strain on family and beneficiaries.  If disputes arise during the probate process, we will protect our client’s interests.

Trust Administration

Trust administration can present significant responsibilities and can sometimes involve complicated issues and tasks.  A Trustee is asked to interpret the trust agreement, manage and account for assets, provide financial accountings, pay taxes, and assess beneficiary claims.  We provide assistance for Trustees who are administering a trust so that they can properly fulfill their fiduciary duties.