Probates & Estates

Our firm frequently advises clients on Probates and Estates. If you've recently lost a loved one, we can help.

The word "Probate" refers to court proceedings to transfer a deceased person's "Probate Assets." When a person dies, a new legal entity called a "Probate Estate" is created if that person had any Probate Assets.

At death, his or her assets can generally be thought of as either: 1) transferring directly to someone else, or 2) becoming part of his or her Probate Estate. Assets that transfer directly to someone else are referred to as Non-Probate Assets (life insurance, retirement accounts, jointly owned property, Transfer on Death Deeds and pay on death accounts are common examples). All other assets are referred to as Probate Assets and become part of the person's Probate Estate. This distinction is very important in estate planning, as Wills only control what happens to a person's Probate Estate.

Probate proceedings involve the management and distribution of a deceased person's Probate Estate. The person responsible for the management and distribution is called the Personal Representative and is commonly appointed due to nomination in a Will. Our firm represents Personal Representatives, helping them through the process. Probate often involves distributing Probate Assets in accordance with a Will. If there is no Will, then distribution is in accordance with default rules spelled out in state statutes. We have guided clients through many probate proceedings.

We also provide assistance with transferring a deceased person's Non-Probate Assets when needed.