Probate and Estate Administration

Navigating the complexities of the probate and estate administration process can be an overwhelming task at an already difficult and emotional time.  Gray Reed’s probate and trust administration team has not only the experience, knowledge and technical expertise to guide clients through the process, but also the compassion and understanding needed to help clients successfully settle their loved one’s affairs and find closure. 

When representing an executor or administrator of an estate, we handle all aspects of the probate and administration process, including:

  • Preparing pleadings and making required court filings;
  • Identifying and valuing assets, including collaboration with valuation experts when warranted;
  • Resolving creditors’ claims;
  • Communicating with beneficiaries;
  • Coordinating with tax professionals and other advisors;
  • Reforming will provisions through judicial modification proceedings;
  • Distributing estate assets;
  • Funding testamentary trusts; and
  • Preparing and filing federal estate tax returns and advising on IRS audits when necessary.

Representing estate beneficiaries is also an important component of our practice.  Our representation of estate beneficiaries encompasses the following:

  • Helping beneficiaries fully understand their rights and entitlements under the will or the laws of intestate succession;
  • Monitoring the estate administration process to ensure compliance with fiduciary duties by the executor or administrator;
  • Addressing issues with the executor or administrator and negotiating settlements when necessary; and
  • Reforming will provisions through judicial modification proceedings. 

Trust Administration

Trusts are often used as part of a comprehensive estate plan, particularly estate plans designed and implemented for high-net-worth individuals.  To ensure a trust provides all the intended benefits for which it was designed, it is imperative for the trustee to administer the trust in accordance with fiduciary standards and for the beneficiaries to understand their rights to the trust.  Our team has significant experience and expertise in advising both trustees and beneficiaries in trust related matters. 

When representing a trustee, we handle all aspects of the trust administration process, including:

  • Advising on compliance with fiduciary duties;
  • Providing guidance and counsel on funding and distribution decisions;
  • Preparing trust accountings;
  • Communicating with beneficiaries;
  • Coordinating with tax professionals and other advisors;
  • Modifying trust provisions through judicial modification proceedings or decanting;
  • Trustee succession;
  • Dispute resolution; and
  • Trust termination and fiduciary discharge. 

Our representation of trust beneficiaries encompasses the following:

  • Helping beneficiaries fully understand their rights and entitlements under the trust agreement;
  • Monitoring the trust administration process to ensure compliance with fiduciary duties by the trustee;
  • Addressing issues with the trustee and negotiating settlements when appropriate; and
  • Modifying trust provisions through judicial modification proceedings or decanting.

Why Probate and Trust Administration Clients Feel at Home at Gray Reed

We are a skilled and compassionate group uniquely suited to guide clients through the complexities of estate and trust administration matters.  We take the time and make the effort to fully assess and understand each client’s situation, including the family dynamics, and work diligently at providing high quality legal services that ultimately lead to the best possible resolution of the matter.  In addition to the skills and expertise of our practice group, our clients have full access to the firm’s lawyers in numerous other practice areas, including family law, real estate law, oil and gas law, tax law, and corporate law.