Unfortunately, when a loved one passes, a practical burden immediately arises. In the midst of personal loss, someone will become responsible for securing the assets and closing out the financial affairs of the deceased. This process is often referred to as “settling the estate” or “estate settlement”.
If there were no estate documents, or just a will, someone will become the point of contact and representative of the estate as the assets and financial affairs of the deceased are processed through the court’s probate process.
Although the expense and inefficiencies of the court probate process can be avoided if the estate was held and managed in trust, the obligation remains the same. Someone will be responsible for settling the estate of the deceased before the assets are disbursed to the heirs.