Probate

Probate/Trust AdministrationProbate is a court proceeding designed to transfer assets from a deceased person to his or her survivors and beneficiaries. This may sound simple enough, but the probate process can be time-consuming, frustrating, and needlessly expensive. It is made all the more difficult by the grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one.

Perhaps you are wondering what is required to probate an estate in New Hampshire? While no two probates are exactly alike, a “typical” probate involves all of the following:

  • Locate and then file the decedent’s will (if he or she had one) with the court
  • File all necessary probate documents with the court
  • Locate, secure, close, and transfer personal assets and accounts
  • Determine the value of all estate assets
  • Ascertain and notify estate creditors
  • Make payments to the decedent’s creditors, discharge his or her obligations, and obtain creditor releases
  • Process any life insurance death benefits
  • Secure the decedent’s tangible personal property and residence
  • File tax returns (federal and state) and make appropriate tax elections
  • Pay estate taxes (if any) and final personal income taxes
  • Obtain tax releases and closing letters from the IRS, state taxing authorities, and local courts
  • Make specific bequests, as well as partial and final distributions, to beneficiaries
  • Provide detailed accounting to the local court and all beneficiaries

Remember: You are not alone during this difficult time. We can manage the probate process for you and settle the estate as quickly and efficiently as possible. This will allow you to focus on coming to terms with your loss and addressing the needs of your loved ones. We invite you to contact us for a personal meeting with our Dover probate attorney.

Trust Administration

Trusts are powerful estate planning tools, capable of helping you accomplish many goals—including the avoidance of probate. What many people fail to understand, however, is that trusts must be properly funded and administered to achieve the trustmaker’s objectives.

Trust administration, like probate, involves a wide range of responsibilities and duties. Tax filings must be made with the state and the Internal Revenue Service. The law requires that trust beneficiaries and other relevant parties receive notification of the decedent’s passing. Additional duties can include opening bank accounts, settling creditor claims, obtaining one or more new tax ID numbers, arranging for the appraisal and sale of estate assets, and paying the decedent’s final expenses. Proper accounting practices must be maintained throughout the entire process.

Failure to properly administer a trust can have serious financial and legal consequences for the trustee. If you have been named as trustee, do not take the decision lightly. At Cocheco Elder Law Associates, PLLC, we can explain all of the steps involved and outline the potential risks. If you decide to serve as trustee, we can guide you through the process from start to finish. In addition, we can work with your existing advisors to make sure the trust’s directives are carried out in accordance with the law.

We invite you to contact us at your earliest convenience for a personal meeting with our Dover trust administration attorney.