Probate, Estate and Trust Administration
Northwest Iowa’s Boutique Estate Planning Law Firm
At the Huizenga Law Firm, we create a client-centered experience by using a unique collaborative approach. By working alongside the professionals you choose, we build a team knowledgeable of the many varied issues that arise during a probate or trust administration so that you can to meet your fiduciary obligations as executor or trustee by delegating the tasks you don’t feel comfortable performing.
The Huizenga Law Firm probate and trust administration process is made of three main phases and is built around a total of nine meetings to keep every probate or trust administration on track. Because a certain amount of work is necessary to collaborate with your chosen advisors, three of those meetings are “internal’ and are attended only by the collaborative team. This process, outlined below, allows us to communicate with you at regular intervals, but it also provides you with the peace of mind that, even though you’re not present at every meeting, Attorney Ethan Huizenga and his legal staff are continuing to work hard with your collaborative team to wrap up the probate or trust administration quickly and efficiently.
Learn more about Iowa probate on our FAQ page.
PHASE 1: Review
Phase 1 begins before you even commit to hiring us. From the first contact, our law firm is working to help you get organized. Our Mutual Interview, Estate Evaluation, and Estate Review (Meetings 1-3) happen within 3-4 days before any fees are due.
At the Mutual Interview (1), the Huizenga Law Firm team will help you acclimate to what it means to be an executor or trustee and answer your initial questions. The Estate Evaluation (2) is the first “internal” meeting. Our experienced legal professionals will evaluate the will and/or trust you provided at the Mutual Interview and prepare summaries of those documents.
When you come back for Estate Review (3), we’ll give you copies of those summaries and review them with you. At the end of this meeting, you decide whether or not to hire us to help with the remainder of the administration, and you choose the who you want on your collaborative team.
PHASE 2: Plan
Phase Two begins when you hire our firm for your probate or estate administration. After Estate Review (3), the Huizenga Law team will prepare the documents necessary for you to take control of the estate or trust. You sign these documents at the Confirming Control meeting (4), and we review the next steps for the administration. With your approval, the collaborative team will attend the Confirming Control meeting to get them introduced to your family’s unique situation.
The period between Confirming Control (4) and Presenting the Plan (6) is usually the longest because there are Iowa state statutory time limits that we have to wait for. But, even though you’re waiting, our legal team’s work doesn’t stop. We meet with the collaborative team at the Analyze, Test, & Plan meeting (5) – the second internal meeting – to identify any issues that may arise during the administration and determine the best options for addressing them.
After this meeting, the collaborative team will work to build a presentation of your options, and Attorney Ethan Huizenga will review that presentation with you at the Presenting the Plan (6) meeting. You’ll decide on issues like collecting and distributing income and when to distribute various property from the estate or trust. Learn more on our trust administration FAQ page
PHASE 3: Execution
Your probate or trust administration moves into Phase Three at the conclusion of the Iowa state statutory waiting period. Armed with the decisions you make at Presenting the Plan (6), the collaborative team will take the necessary steps to implement those decisions.
The Building the Plan (7) is the third internal meeting and is critical for delegating the various administration tasks among the collaborative team members. The team will prepare asset transfer documents and receipts, communicate with creditors, keep the trust or estate accounting records up to date, and communicate with the heirs and beneficiaries.
After the plan has been built, only two meetings remain. At the Implementing the Plan meeting (8), the collaborative team will seek your approval and/or signature on the various documents for distributing and closing the estate. Once all the bills have been paid, debts discharged, and assets distributed, you and Lawyer Ethan Huizenga will get together one last time at the Complete and Close meeting (9) to tie up any loose ends and close the probate or trust administration.