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Do I Need Trust Settlement or Probate Administration?

Settling an estate can feel like a big responsibility for anyone who hasn’t done it before. Sometimes you need to go through probate, sometimes you need trust settlement. And sometimes, you need both! 

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a quick run-down for what happens in both trust settlement and probate administration.


Probate is the court process that occurs if a person had no estate planning documents in place upon their death. If there is just a will (not a trust), you’ll still have to go through probate. This process includes: 

  • Submitting documents to court
  • Applying to be Personal Representative (often called an “Executor”)
  • Creating an inventory of assets
  • Remembering deadlines
  • Attending hearings

Probate does not have to be a bad or ugly process. But, it can be lengthy and overwhelming for the personal representative, and it’s easy to get mixed up on what’s supposed to happen when. With professional help, however, probate is much easier.

Trust Settlement

Trust settlement occurs when the person who died created a trust during their lifetime. This document… 

  • Explains how they want money to be distributed after they die 
  • Names a successor trustee to handle assets
  • Avoids probate

Proper estate planning during your lifetime can avoid a court process for your loved ones after your death.

Need help with either one? Give us a call! Our attorneys understand the processes and laws thoroughly to provide relief as they guide you through the next steps.