Probate is a legal process by which a decedent’s debts are paid and the remaining assets are distributed to beneficiaries. At a broader level, estate administration typically includes the distribution of non-probate assets, such as retirement plans or insurance policies.
If a decedent left a valid will, the administration of the estate is controlled by the terms of the will. In the absence of a will, a state’s laws on intestate succession will determine how assets will be distributed.
The administration process begins with the appointment of a personal representative by the Clerk of Court. If there is a will, the representative is called an executor. If there is no will, the representative is called the administrator.
The representative is faced with many decisions in the first few months of settling an estate, including which type of administration to use. The Law Office of David Watters can review these issues and provide other assistance to someone who plans to apply to the Clerk for appointment as executor or administrator. We also can provide assistance with the preparation of other documents that must be submitted to the Clerk of Court, including periodic accountings of estate assets or notices to creditors of the decedent.
The representative is responsible for collecting and protecting the assets of the estate, paying debts and other expenses, and filing returns and paying various taxes. After all payments are made from the estate, the remaining assets are distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries.
If you are looking for a trusted advisor or agent for estate administration, the Law Office of David Watters will be pleased to assist you.