The processes involved with probate and estate administration refer to settling the affairs of someone who is deceased. Probate specifically refers to the process of authenticating the deceased’s will, and estate administration specifically refers to the process of settling the terms of a will or determining where the assets end up if the person did not have a will.
The length of time it takes to complete this process varies from estate to estate, but it can go much quicker and more smoothly with the assistance of an experienced probate attorney.
The probate process begins with the setting of a personal representative for the estate. This person is often referred to as the executor or the administrator of the will. The representative is appointed through the state, and is then issued notice of their appointment. The official documentation of this appointment may be used to grant the representative access to the deceased’s accounts, so they can create an inventory of the assets. This inventory is presented to the courts, so the assets can be divided as directed in the will, or as the state dictates in the absence of a will.
After the initial probate process is conducted, the other steps for the trust administration process can be completed. These include:
- Dealing with real property: This is the process that involves the transferring of property assets to any and all beneficiary(ies).
- Collecting other assets: This involves collecting other assets such as bank accounts, investments, and other non-property related assets.
- Paying debts and taxes: The executor of the estate needs to satisfy any debts that are owed, and then determine if the estate requires a Federal estate tax filing.
- Distribution of assets: After all of the assets have been accounted for, debts have been paid and the tax items have been taken care of, the estate can be distributed to the beneficiary(ies).
It’s important to know that you’re not alone throughout this process. Our team at Wiggins & Hall Law Group, LLC is here to help. Whether you and your family would like us to handle the entire process, or act as trusted advisors when working through many important decisions, know that our team is on your side. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist with probate and estate administration.