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Or, did you have an attorney to oversee settlement? Lessons learned? Recommendations? My Mother had a Living Will and Trust. Pretty straightforward (savings, investments, real estate to be shared equally by beneficiaries....her 3 children). No Medicaid involved. State of FL. Friends have recommended hiring an atty.....your experience?.....input?

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Also I'd like to add that all things post death takes time. Whether its probate or dealing with trusts......things will take months if not years to settle, change or be distributed. If you are the named excutor or trustee, pause to give some thought as to if your good as to the time & probably costs involved personally as well as dealing with family who may be beneficiaries and need $ yesterday.

If there are cash assets, you can probably set up a draw for expenses if you are the named executor or trustee. But if not, or if assets are not accessible, you will front all costs. How to set this up needs to be discussed with your atty so that all is kumbaya for the court, or trust & limits family conflicts.
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I've been executor now 3 times. First 2 back last millennium when it was still "executrix" if you were female! GardenArtist advice is spot-on regarding determining IF probate is needed to be opened is the first thing to do. If they did a trust and everything asset was retitled to trust then no probate. It's the trustees job to do this. As GA asked...Are you the trustee?

If not, then whomever is trustee must initiate this.

To me, the atty selected needs to be one who routinely does the type of trusts or probate that your situation is. My experience is most probate atty do not ever do litigation, so thats speciality work. Ditto for lineal heirship. For trusts to me that's work for an estate atty. You need to pause and think what the issues could be for distribution as to what type & skills level of atty you need to do things.

Trusts, if it was me, I'd first contact whomever did the original trust to see if they can do whatever needs to be done or get their recommendation as to another atty. Realistically the trust should have been set up to be self funded so there will be a whole set of assets already set up to pay for things included in the trust. And there's a broker or financial advisor involved as those income sources have had oversight in the past and may/will need to change if it's to defund or become a new trust. Trusts are pretty complex, you need legal, financial & tax pros to do all correctly.

Mina -a? For you? Nowadays to set up a trust, it usually is 700/800k - 1M asset range realistically to even think about doing a trust. Is your families trust in this range? Or is the "trust" more a property or another single asset that was titled as a trust and has no funding source? Or the "trust" was more something set up by someone doing a "protect your $" dinner seminars marketed to elders?
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If this is your first rodeo, definitely get an attorney and a tax prep person.
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Mina, since your mother had a trust, there might not be any assets that need to be probated. Was her Trust fully funded, i.e., all assets retitled in the name of the Trust? If so, they're deal with as specified in the Trust. There should be a Pour-Over Will that links to the Trust, but Probate wouldn't be involved.

My mother's will required no action because everything was titled jointly with my father and passed to him on her death. My sister's Trust was fully funded, so everything was handled through the Trust. It's a good thing, too, because it took me awhile to grasp what had happened since I never really believed until the last few days that she would die.

If you do have to handle assets in Trust, it can be complex when you do the tax return (form 1041). I did hire a trust accountant to do the first 1041 b/c the instructions were just so confusing, and b/c I didn't know what I was doing, I read the whole 1041 booklet and became even more confused.

So first step would be to inventory the assets and determine if they're titled in the name of the Trust. Are you Trustee?

Since we're close geographically, I can recommend a few good attorneys if you feel you need one.
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