Probate and Trust Administration

If estate planning is the process of designing a playbook, then estate and trust administration is the process of putting the playbook into action. The process begins with an event, such as incapacity or death, that triggers a provision in an estate plan requiring the designated individuals to step into action.

A probate is a court process to manage a deceased person’s assets. Typically, the person named as Personal Representative (Executor) in the Will files a petition with the court to appoint themselves to manage the probate process. The Personal Representative is tasked with identifying all the estate assets, finding the heirs, notifying creditors, paying the bills, and distributing the estate assets to the heirs. A professionally prepared, well-written will make the probate process easier on surviving family members. If there is no will, then the court will use state law to determine the distribution of assets.


Trust administration occurs at the moment the person who created the trust becomes incapacitated or dies, and typically does not involve the court. The trustee of a trust is responsible for basically the same tasks as a Personal Representative. It is vitally important to work with an experienced attorney for trust administration to avoid liability that could arise from beneficiaries or from the failure to issue required consents or notices.

People often ask how much a probate costs. Arizona does not allow attorneys to base their fees on a percentage of the estate’s value. This usually means the attorney’s fees are lower. We charge on an hourly basis. The costs of probate vary depending on the size and nature of the estate.

Regardless of the size of your estate or trust, probate and trust administration can be a complicated process. At Ring Law Firm, we understand the anxiety and frustration may people feel when a loved one dies, and they become involved in a probate or trust matter. Most people have no idea how probate or trust works or what is expected of them.