Disclaimer: 
The information on this website is intended to be informational only and viewing it does not establish an attorney/client relationship, nor is it legal advice for a specific matter. Please do not email or fax information to Bernard J. Johnsen without first speaking or meeting with him because sending him information will not create an attorney/client relationship and it may not be kept confidential.  Bernard is admitted to practice only in Arizona and the US District Court.  This website is governed by the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct.

© 2019 Bernard Justice Johnsen Law, PLLC.  All rights reserved.

Bernard Justice Johnsen

Law, PLLC

1820 East Ray Road

Chandler, Arizona 85225

PH: (480) 264-5106

Estate & Trust Administrations

 

Estate Administrations

Estate administrations are performed by a personal representative - which is commonly known as an executor.  The personal representative has a duty to follow the terms of the will, comply with Arizona law, satisfy the obligations of the estate and to protect the beneficiaries’ interests.  A personal representative's "job" can be generally described as an asset manager.  He or she will gather the estate's assets, pay the valid creditor claims and distribute the remainder of the assets to the beneficiaries.

 

Estate administrations from start to finish can usually be completed within six months.  Sometimes an administration can take longer if the person who died (the “decedent”) owned securities, a home that needs to be sold or if is property located in another state.  I have helped numerous personal representatives administer their loved one’s estate and am familiar with the various nuances that can arise.  Generally, an estate administration is straightforward and you can expect that:

 

  • a personal representative will need to be appointed;

  • an inventory will be prepared and distributed;

  • notice will be given to creditors and valid creditor claims will be paid;

  • costs of administration will be paid including tax liabilities if necessary;

  • an account of the estate will be prepared and distributed;

  • remaining assets will be distributed to the rightful owners; and

  • the estate will be closed.

 

However, many times issues arise that are unique to each estate.  Here are some examples of things that can happen and that I am experienced in dealing with:

 

  • getting access to safety deposit boxes;

  • getting another party who has possession of an estate asset to turn it over to you;

  • removing persons (including family members) from the decedent’s residence;

  • having the court recognize a photocopy of the decedent’s will when the original is unavailable;

  • devising assets properly that can’t be physically “split down the middle;”

  • drafting deeds and maintaining a “good chain of title;”

  • satisfying title company’s requests;

  • getting you bonded;

  • getting a personal representative appointed when the decedent died more than two years ago – this is called a tardy probate;

  • clearing up title issues to a home – sometimes the decedent lived in a home, but it was never properly titled in his or her name;

  • defending creditor claims;

  • assisting the personal representative in suing someone who exploited the decedent before his or her death;

  • dealing with statutory allowances claimed by family members;

  • dealing with an ongoing business;

  • dealing with rare antiquities and estate sales;

  • dealing with run-down homes not fit for sale;

  • assisting out-of-state clients with an administration;

  • finding heirs that cannot be located or do not want to be located; and

  • much more.

 

Remember, my goal is to assist you with following your loved one’s wishes and comply with Arizona law.  I will do so in a compassionate, yet efficient and cost-effective manner.  I will thoroughly explain the issues to you in plain English and advise you as to your options.  Many times, the personal representative does not get to grieve while the estate is being administered because they have no finality to a loved one’s death until the estate is fully administered.  I am here to help you.

 

Trust Administrations

Trust administrations are performed by a trustee and he or she has a duty to follow the terms of the trust, comply with Arizona law, satisfy the obligations of the decedent's estate and to protect the beneficiaries’ interests.  A trustee's "job" can be generally described as an asset manager as well.  The trustee will gather the trust estate's assets, pay the valid creditor claims and distribute the remainder of the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the trust.

 

Trust administrations from start to finish can usually be completed within six months if all devisees are to receive outright distributions.  Sometimes an administration can take longer if the decedent owned securities, a home that needs to sold or property located in another state.  Also, trust administrations might be ongoing if a trust creates a subtrust for a person that does not receive his or her distribution out-right because that person is a minor, has special needs or the trustor wanted to protect that person from themselves or creditors.  Remember, trustees have a duty to follow the terms of the trust, comply with Arizona law, and protect the beneficiaries’ interest.  I have helped numerous trustees administer their loved one’s trust and am familiar with the various issues that can arise.  Generally, a trust administration is straightforward and you can expect that:

 

  • a trustee will need to accept office and give notice to the beneficiaries and financial intuitions;

  • trust documents may need to be shared with beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust and Arizona law;

  • notice will be given to creditors and valid creditor claims will be paid;

  • costs of administration will be paid including tax liabilities if necessary;

  • subtrusts should be created and funded (if necessary);

  • a final account of the trust will be prepared and distributed;

  • assets will be distributed to the rightful owners; and

  • the trust will be closed.

 

However, similar to an estate administration, issues may arise that are not that simple.  Here are some examples of things that can happen that I am experienced with dealing with:

 

  • drafting the documents necessary to allow the trustee to administer the trust or subtrusts;

  • shortening the time to contest the trust instrument from one year to four months;

  • opening a probate (estate) to transfer assets titled in the decedent’s name into the trust;

  • getting access to safety deposit boxes;

  • getting another party who has possession of a trust asset to turn it over to you;

  • removing persons (including family members) from a home owned by the trust;

  • distributing trust assets properly;

  • drafting deeds and maintaining a “good chain of title;”

  • satisfying title companies requests;

  • getting you bonded (if needed);

  • clearing up title issues to a home or other property – sometimes the trustor’s home or other property was never properly titled in his or her name or transferred to the trust;

  • defending creditor claims;

  • assisting the trustee in suing someone who exploited the decedent before his or her death;

  • dealing with statutory allowances claimed by family members;

  • dealing with an ongoing business;

  • dealing with rare antiquities and estate sales;

  • dealing with run-down homes not fit for sale;

  • assisting out-of-state clients with the administration;

  • devisees that cannot be located or do not want to be located; and

  • much more.

 

Remember, my goal is to assist you with following your loved one’s wishes.  I will do so in a compassionate, yet efficient and cost-effective manner.  I will thoroughly explain the issues to you in plain English and advise you as to your options.  Many times, the trustee and beneficiaries do not get to grieve while the trust is being administered because they have no finality to a loved one’s death until the trust is fully administered.  I am here to help you.

 

REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION

To request a free consultation regarding estate or trust administrations, please complete the form below.  Do not send any specific confidential information without speaking with Bernard Justice Johnsen Law first (see Disclaimer below).