Estate Administration

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What is Estate Administration?

Estate administration is the process of managing the assets and debts of a person who has passed away. 

Probate

A probate is a form of estate administration.  Probate is a process in the court.  If a person has a will, a probate can still be required if there are assets that the beneficiaries cannot collect.  If there is no will, a probate is required.

Probate is the process of filing a petition for probate with the court.  A personal representative is appointed by the court.  A personal representative is also known as an executor or administrator in other states.  The probate process can be a short probate or long probate.

Short Probate

A short probate is accomplished by filing a Small Estate Affidavit in the court nominating an Affiant or Claiming Successor who will be the person in charge of collecting assets and paying creditors of the decedent.  The court charges a filing fee to file a small estate affidavit.  Generally, a small probate takes four months.  During the four-month period, the Affiant or Claiming Successor can collect assets of the decedent, such as bank accounts or investments, open new probate accounts, ascertain who the creditors of the estate are, and pay creditors.  During the four-month period, beneficiaries should not take ownership of assets until all creditors are paid in full.

Long Probate

A long probate is generally considered a one-year proceeding; it can take a shorter time, but that is not generally the case.  A long probate requires a petition to the court nominating a Personal Representative and grant the Personal Representative legal authority to collect assets, pay creditors, and after the court approves, transferring assets to beneficiaries.  This is a very simplistic and brief explanation but generally describes long probates.

Trust Administration

Trust Administration is accomplished by a Trustee.  A Trustee has the legal ownership over assets of a trust.  A Trustee may or may not be a beneficiary of trust assets.

A Trustee administers the assets of a trust through the trust laws of the state in which the trust is created and by using the legal authorities granted through the trust document.

Briefly, Trust Administration requires ascertaining the assets in a trust, determining the value of the trust assets, identifying the creditors and claims against the estate of the trust, notifying, reporting, accounting, and communicating with trust beneficiaries.   Trustee duties also include filing tax returns relating to the trust.    

How Long Does It Take To Administer A Trust? 

The answer depends on who the beneficiaries are, what the assets are, and what a Trustee must do in order to fulfill the Trustee’s obligations to creditors.  All of these tasks must be determined prior to making any distributions of trust assets to beneficiaries.

Administering the estate of another person may be very time-consuming and difficult.  Planning in advance may eliminate some of the costs of administering an estate.  Planning in advance is intended to simplify and streamline the administration of a trust estate.

Soto Law Firm, P.C., is prepared to assist you
with your Estate Administration needs. 

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