Mourning the loss of a loved one is one difficult enough without adding the stress of estate administration. Instead of being given time to grieve, a surviving spouse or family member may be tasked with paying their loved one’s taxes, transferring trust assets, and meeting the financial obligations of the estate. Even if a trustee is comfortable executing the terms of a trust, any mistakes made during the process could have long-lasting and costly consequences.
We Handle the Business Matters, You Attend to What Matters Most
The Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, Inc. has handled the post-death administration for over 4,000 estates, easing the burden on clients throughout Southern California. We offer a free initial consultation with trustees to determine what will need to be done during administration, finding the best ways to help you achieve your goals with minimal stress. Simply fill out our contact form to get started.
Our post-death planning and administration services include:
- Funding of Trusts. When the estate administration involves a Living Trust, the survivor trustee (often the surviving spouse) assumes control of the property held in the trust without the need to go through probate. The proper funding of your trust is of critical importance to your loved ones, as it may save countless estate tax and income tax dollars down the road. Funding of trusts may also help protect the surviving spouse from lawsuits or government claims, and assure that other beneficiaries will properly receive their intended inheritance when the surviving spouse dies.
- Federal Estate Tax Return. We have efficiently and effectively prepared estate tax returns for over one thousand clients over the years. For high-value estates, it may be required to file a tax return and pay taxes within nine months of a death. Even if no taxes are due, a federal estate tax return may be filed when the first spouse dies to help reduce or eliminate estate tax when the surviving spouse dies. A state estate tax return may also be necessary if you own assets outside of California. Our work in preparing these returns goes far beyond plugging in your information and computing the taxes due; we employ legal strategies to help reduce your family’s tax obligation.
- Distributions to Beneficiaries. If assets in trust are not properly distributed to heirs, they may be subject to legal challenges and taxation down the road. Most importantly, real estate transfers should not be made to beneficiaries without the assistance of a law firm, as it could jeopardize your low property tax base status. If beneficiaries are to receive their inheritance through a Personal Asset Trust, this will need to be established properly. We oversee distribution matters such as maximizing asset protection benefits, changing titles, preventing creditor claims, and ensuring the trust works as intended.
- Spousal Petition. If you do not have a Living Trust, you may avoid lengthy probate proceedings upon the death of your spouse through the use of a simplified spousal property petition. Additionally, if you and your spouse did not enter into a property agreement, the court may declare your spouse’s assets to be community property—giving you substantial tax benefits.
- Trust Modification or Reformation. It may be necessary to make changes to an irrevocable trust or a Living Trust after the maker or first spouse has passed. We may utilize a special agreement between the trustee and beneficiaries, or several different court procedures to accomplish your objectives.
- Trust and Estate Litigation. If the trustee, executor, or beneficiaries are disputing the terms of a will or trust, these may need to be resolved through legal action. We may provide assistance in properly interpreting provisions in a will or trust, defending claims against the estate, and handling other court matters.
- Estate Planning for Beneficiaries. Once an inheritance is received, beneficiaries will need to protect these assets from threats such as divorce, lawsuits, and creditors, as well as ensure their own heirs will not be stuck with high fees or estate taxes. We are here to assist the next generation of loved ones with their estate planning needs.
Our legal team provides peace of mind to clients in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California. Contact The Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, Inc. today to have us provide answers to your questions and guide your family through this difficult time.