Probate & Trust Administration

The expense and time delay of probate is usually sought to be avoided by clients. While the claimed disadvantages of probate often exist in large metropolitan areas, they have been exaggerated in other areas of the country. Executors do, however, need the assistance of knowledgeable attorneys in the administration of a probate estate. Preparation of the initial probate court documents, claim notices, inventory of assets, retitling of estate property for beneficiaries, valuation of estate assets, preparation of the federal and state estate tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns all require specialized knowledge and skill. Sorling Northrup attorneys have considerable experience in assisting executors complete the often complex job of estate administration. If problems arise in the administration of an estate, this experience enables Sorling Northrup to counsel executors effectively regarding their fiduciary duties to beneficiaries, as well as to counsel individuals on their rights as beneficiaries.

A wide variety of trust instruments is available to meet client challenges. While the benefits of trusts are often publicized, the risks of personal liability to individual and corporate trustees are not. Questions often arise as to trustee duties and responsibilities regarding distribution to beneficiaries, payment of expenses, the prudent person investment rule, income tax consequences to the trust and beneficiaries of distributions, and the accounting to beneficiaries. These fiduciary duties and responsibilities are extremely rigorous and the consequences of breaching such duties may be severe, even to the well-intentioned trustee. Sorling Northrup has effectively represented individual and corporate trustees, as well as beneficiaries of trusts, in all matters regarding this specialized area of law.

Sorling Northrup attorneys who practice in this area include: