What’s The Difference Between Probate And Trust Administration?

May 9, 2024

Probate and trust administration are two common legal processes that occur after someone passes away. So if you’ve been thinking about estate planning, you might have already seen these terms. But what do they really mean? 

Applegate & Dillman Elder Law is here to provide clarity on probate and trust administration and help you make informed decisions for your future and your loved ones.

The Basics of Probate

When a loved one dies in Indiana, their assets cannot be distributed until the estate goes through probate - even if they have a valid will. Probate is a court-supervised procedure of administering the individually owned assets of the decedent. The probate process can either be:

Testate probate: Where there is a valid will.

Intestate probate: Where there is no will. In this case, the state law will dictate how wealth is distributed.

It’s a complicated, fee-heavy process that can keep your family waiting for months to receive a penny. The average costs for administering probate in Indiana range between 4 and 11 percent of the entire estate value. 

Fortunately, you can avoid the worst of probate by preparing a formal estate plan. At Applegate & Dillman Elder Law, we have helped hundreds of clients avoid probate through Life Care Planning, a comprehensive approach to estate planning.

Understanding Trust Administration

When a family member passes away and has a trust in place, trust administration needs to be performed. If you have been appointed to administer a trust, it is worth noting that if the trust’s content is improperly administered, the trustee can be held personally accountable. Many things come into play when executing a trust, such as the cost of administration and tax issues, and they should not be overlooked.

A trust administration attorney can help protect your family's interests and guide you through every step of the trust administration process if you decide to serve as a trustee. An attorney can also recommend a suitable person to take that role on your behalf.

The Difference Between Probate and Trust Administration

Both processes aim to accomplish the same end, the passing of wealth and assets after death, but they do so in different ways:

Management: The process of probate is managed by either an executor designated by the deceased in their will or a personal representative appointed by the court if there is no designated executor. On the other hand, trust administration is overseen by a trustee specified and named in the trust document.

Circumstances: Probate is necessary when the deceased left behind a last will and testament or, in certain circumstances, when the deceased passed away intestate (without a will). Trust administration, however, exclusively involves the transfer of property held within the trust.

Setting: Probate proceedings take place within a court setting. In contrast, trust administration typically occurs outside of court, unless issues arise with the trustee's actions, prompting heirs to initiate legal action.

Whether you need assistance with probate or trust administration, Applegate & Dillman Elder Law is here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today to secure your family’s financial future.

Applegate & Dillman Elder Law: Our Team

At Applegate & Dillman Elder Law, our team of experienced Indianapolis probate lawyers understands the complexities of probate and trust administration. We provide personalized guidance to our clients, helping them navigate the legal processes with ease and peace of mind.

Don’t Wait on Your Future and Legacy

If you need assistance with probate or trust administration, contact Applegate & Dillman Elder Law - your reliable Indianapolis probate lawyers. Let us help you protect your loved ones’ legacies and preserve their assets for future generations.

Schedule a consultation with our experienced probate attorneys now. Your estate planning journey starts today.

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