Probate and Trust Administration

Whether your loved one prepared a Will, Trust, or nothing at all, our team can assist you with the process of settling an estate.

Probate

Probate is the legal process in which a deceased person’s debts are paid and estate assets are distributed – either in accordance with a Last Will & Testament, or, if no Will was prepared, in accordance with state law.   Some clients are able to settle smaller estates informally, in which case our office can assist with the filing of a “small estate affidavit”.

Kincaid Law Offices, P.C. can advise you regarding whether a formal probate or small estate affidavit is required to administer your loved one’s estate.  When settling an estate requires probate, we will guide your family through the process. The probate court will appoint a personal representative (also called an executor or administrator). The personal representative will:

  • Gather and preserve assets
  • Pay legitimate debts
  • Distribute remaining assets to the beneficiaries
  • Consider tax implications of the estate

It is important to have a close working relationship with your attorney during probate in order to be properly and timely advised about the laws and obligations of probate.  A Personal Representative owes a fiduciary duty to the estate, and can be personally liable for breaching the fiduciary duty.   It is imperative that you adequately understand the process and relevant court documents, as well as your personal liability, if you agree to accept the position of personal representative.

The probate process is often finished within a year, though issues relating to family disputes, creditors, and other problems can delay the process for much longer. An experienced probate lawyer can expedite the settling of a person’s estate.

Trust Administration

The administration of a trust is often a simplified process compared to a probate.  However, a trustee is still required to comply with the laws regarding notification to the beneficiaries and creditors, management and distribution of trust assets, and reporting to the trust beneficiaries.

Kincaid Law Offices, P.C. can advise you regarding the process of properly administering a trust in accordance with Oregon law.   Many of the trustee’s duties are similar to the duties of a personal representative in a probate proceeding; however, a trustee ordinarily does not need to file any documents with the court or account to the court for the distribution of the trust (although a trustee must report to the trust beneficiaries).  In other words, a trustee still faces potential personal liability for the trustee’s actions, must prepare and execute legal documents within certain time periods, and must comply with the laws of Oregon pertaining to trust administrations; however, the goal of most trust administrations will be to completely circumvent the court, resulting in an often simplified and expedited estate administration.

Like a probate, it is important to have a close working relationship with your attorney during the trust administration, to be properly and timely advised about the laws and obligations of the trustee.   A trustee owes a fiduciary duty to the trust estate, and can also be personally liable for breaching the fiduciary duty.   It is imperative that you adequately under the process and relevant trust documents, as well as your personal liability, if you agree to accept the position of trustee.

We would be happy to help you understand the obligations and liability of a trustee, the requirements of complying with Oregon trust law, and assist you to investigate whether you wish to accept the trusteeship and if so, how to accept and administer the trust.   Please contact us for a consultation.

Contested Probate or Trust Administration

If contested issues arise, it is important to have an aggressive advocate on your side. Some of the more common issues in a contested estate proceedings relate to the validity of the instruments (Will, Trust, bank documents) themselves and the actions of the fiduciary in relation to the estate property (ie distributing personal property of sentimental value, etc.).

Contested estate proceedings are often contentious and heated matters. The need for reliable and effective representation is crucial, both to strongly pursue your litigation goals and to keep you informed and involved in the proceedings.

Kincaid Law Offices, P.C. will guide you through the complicated matter of a contested estate proceeding. Our office focuses on meeting the needs and expectations of the individuals we serve, which means we will take the time necessary to fully inform you of your rights and make sure you have clear and realistic expectations.

Contested estate matters arise for countless reasons, and the conflicts may often run much deeper than the cases themselves. The emotions that can run between family members are naturally deep and powerful, but when you add in issues of property, assets, savings and money, even seemingly simple questions can suddenly take on a life of their own.

Our office can help you resolve contested estate matters such as:

  • Disputed Wills or Trusts
  • Contested Status of a Personal Representative or Trustee
  • Distribution of Estate
  • Case Mismanagement
    Inventory & Appraisement Issues

When facing a contested estate situation, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. We have the strong litigation experience to aggressively pursue your goals, and we help guide you along a compassionate and reliable path toward resolution.  Contact Kincaid Law Offices, P.C. to learn more about resolving will contests and other estate administration issues.