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  • Writer's pictureRichard N. Barnes

Mom and dad left me in charge of their estate. Now what do I do?

Updated: Jun 8, 2018

What do I do with the Will? What if there is a Trust? Do I have to go to court?

What happens after Mom and Dad pass away and you are left in charge of their estate?  What are your legal duties and responsibilities?  What if they didn't have a will?  What if they had a Trust? 

You might have a lot of questions about handling an estate when you are left in charge.  Sometimes the answers are simple.  Sometimes they are more complex.  We can help you find the best answers to your questions. 

If your parents set up a Trust before their death, and transferred their assets into the trust, the work of carrying out their wishes may be much easier.  A Trust that is properly set up and funded does not need to use the court system to transfer assets and administer the estate.  Occasionally, people have a trust set up and think their estate plan is in place, without ever having transferred their property into their trust.  When that happens, you may need to use the court system to get their property transferred to the trust so that it can be distributed according to their estate plan. 

Even when an estate is properly set up, questions can arise about how to handle distributing the assets of estate to the beneficiaries. Often, a one-hour consultation can answer most of these questions and is well worth the cost. We offer a one-hour consultation on the duties and responsibilities of a successor trustee, with specific guidance for your situation, for a flat fee. Call or email today to set one up. Telephone: 801-810-4893. E-mail:

What if there was no will?

If there was no will, this generally means you will need to use the court's probate process to transfer property and assets out of your deceased parents' names. Some small estates, however, do not require using the court's probate system to transfer assets. We can help you find the most cost-effective solution to meet your needs. More information about probate and the process of transferring assets can be found HERE.

What is Probate?

Probate is the court process that is required so that possessions and property can be passed from someone who died to their heirs and family. A probate action begins by filing a petition with the court to open a new case and to have someone appointed by the court to act on behalf of the estate as the Personal Representative of the estate. The term Executor of the Estate is another term sometimes used and has the same meaning as Personal Representative. Through this process, the Personal Representative obtains the authorization from the court to settle the affairs of the estate. The Personal Representative has certain duties when handling the estate, including:

  • Paying the final bills

  • Determining heirs of the estate

  • Preparing an inventory of the estate

  • Gathering all of the assets of the estate for distribution

  • Filing a final tax return for the estate

  • Determining the validity of claims against the estate and, when necessary, paying those claims

  • Distributing the assets of the estate to those designated in the will or, when there is no will, to those heirs of the decedent as designated by Utah statutes.

While the probate process can sometimes be complicated, we can help you through it every step of the way. Call now for help understanding the probate process. Telephone: 801-810-4893.



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