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Probate & Estate Administration

The death of a loved one — whether expected and anticipated or sudden and completely out of the blue — can be an emotionally trying time for those left behind.  The grieving process is known but what is unknown is how individual people will move through that process.  While the grieving process is occurring, there may be various (and numerous) legal, financial, and personal matters that need to be promptly settled.  Having access to knowledgeable advice and assistance to guide you through the legal matters can help with the overall grief process and allow you to focus your time and energy on those sharing in your experience.

The legal process involved after a loved one dies depends on what estate planning was in place. Generally, probate will be required when someone dies without a Will (“intestate”) or if someone dies with only a Will (“testate”).  Probate is the court-governed legal process by which a person’s assets are collected, debts,

taxes, and other administrative costs are handled, and assets distributed.  Like any court process, this can be complicated.  At the Law Offices of Brent Williams-Ruth, we strive to work with clients to ensure that the probate process is handled in a timely, efficient, and cost effective manner. Depending on the needs of the clients, we can handle all actions or work with the Executor/Personal Representative to empower them to save costs by guiding them to handle some of the administrative tasks.


Probate is not always required.  Some small estates (such as estates with less than $100,000 in total assets) or estates of those with a properly funded living trust can avoid probate.  Nevertheless, administration — collecting assets, paying debts, taxes, and costs, and distributing assets — will be required under the trust’s terms and state law. Law Offices of Brent Williams-Ruth can help guide you as the successor trustee through the administration with a focus remaining on being as cost effective and efficient as possible.