Probate & Trust Administration


When a loved one passes away with just a will, or no estate plan at all, his family is required to put the estate through a court-managed process called probate. While most of Edward Joy’s clients set up their estates through a revocable living trust to avoid probate, the majority of estates in California do go through probate, which can be a confusing, frustrating and arduous process.  Edward is here to guide individuals and families through that process.


No two probates are ever the same, but some of them involve locating the will and making a filing with the probate court.  Once the will has been accepted, the court appoints a personal representative.  After that, all of the heirs need to be formally notified in writing.  The heirs have the opportunity to review the will and make any appropriate challenges or contests.

After debts and taxes are paid, assets are distributed in accordance with the will or intestacy.  Some assets, like life insurance and retirement accounts, might not be affected by probate because they pass directly to the named beneficiary.  Other kinds of assets, like those held in joint tenancy, will pass directly to the other joint tenant.  All of these assets are counted as part of the estate for purposes of calculating whether taxes are due or counted as part of any existing or future Medicaid applications.  Additionally, estates over a certain threshold have to be probated whether they are taxable or not.

If you find yourself in probate, Edward Joy will guide you every step of the way, from lodging the will and notifying heirs, to transferring assets to the intended beneficiaries.  If a loved one has recently passed away and you would like a no-cost, confidential consultation to discuss the next steps, please contact me directly at 415-608-6727 or to schedule a meeting.

Trust Administration

Unlike the court managed probate process, trust administration is managed privately by the trustee.  Edward Joy offers complete postmortem trust administration.  He assists the trustee with selling any necessary assets and prepares documents to effectuate the transfer of assets to the beneficiaries.  Edward works closely with accountants to resolve any tax issues that may arise and to ensure the proper preparation of any required tax returns.

Trust administration is a necessary process that occurs after the death of either one or both settlors.  To protect the successor trustees, there are many things that must be done to ensure proper administration.

Fortunately, working with Edward Joy for trust administration is a straightforward process that will give the successor trustees a great peace of mind throughout the administration.