When a person dies, his estate needs to be managed, collected and distributed. This is done with the help of the estate executor or administrator. It’s a big responsibility, so if you’ve been appointed the executor of an estate, it helps to understand the entire process.
The Probate Proceeding
The probate proceeding may not require much court intervention. Most probate proceedings generally involve filing the necessary probate papers, having the court appoint the administrator or executor, paying the deceased’s debts and taxes, distributing the remaining assets to the heirs, and having the court approve the distribution and close out the estate.
When the will is contested, the court may find itself more involved, and everyone involved in the will, along with the estate administrator, will find themselves appearing in court at least once, possibly more.
Once the executor or administrator is appointed, he’ll begin by inventorying the estate.
The creditors will receive notification of the decedent’s death, and if the decedent had assets that were enough to pay the creditors, the estate makes those payments. If the decedent’s assets did not cover the debt, the court approves which creditors get paid.
Once the debt and taxes are paid, any remaining assets are distributed in accordance with the will.
If the decedent only owned a few assets, it’s possible the entire probate process can be avoided by going through a “small estate” administration. This is possible if the value of the decedent’s assets is less than the threshold amount.
If you’ve been appointed administrator or executor of an estate, we are here for you every step of the way.