Trusts are private estate planning mechanisms. They should eliminate the need for a conservatorship if the person who set up the trust (the settlor) becomes incapacitated during his or her lifetime. They do not require a court probate process on the settlor’s death (as long as the trust was funded during lifetime). Nevertheless, some legal advice and assistance may be necessary. This could include assistance with inventorying the trust, dealing with creditors, paying bequests, advice regarding tax returns and estate tax, notice and accounting to beneficiaries, facilitation of disputes between beneficiaries, and distribution of the estate. Patsy generally performs this work on an hourly basis rather than charging a percentage of the value of the estate.
Appropriate planning, in the form of preparation of trusts and powers of attorney, can eliminate the need for the court process of conservatorship. If planning is no longer possible because of loss of capacity, Patsy’s goal is to steer you through the myriad of laws and regulations in a way that respects the personal situation involved and keeps to a minimum the legal expense and intervention.
Probate is a court-supervised method for transferring title from a deceased person to her or his heirs. If Patsy is unable to help you avoid the probate process through planning prior to death and incapacity, she will focus on efficient and timely administration.