Author: Simon Volkov

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Administrator Responsibilities For Settling Probate Estates By Simon Volkov

  in Family Concerns | Published 2012-03-09 17:53:52 | 102 Reads | Unrated

Summary

Being an Administrator for probate estates can encompass a myriad of duties Much depends on whether decedents execute a last will and testament

Full Content

Being an Administrator for probate estates can encompass a myriad of duties. Much depends on whether decedents execute a last will and testament. There are two types of probate estates; testate and intestate. The first refers to estates with a Will, while the second refers to those without a Will.

Individuals appointed as the Administrator through the last will can usually assume estate settlement duties once the death certificate has been filed through the court. Some states require probate administrators to receive court confirmation or post an estate bond. For intestate estat
es, Administrators must be appointed through the court.

Oftentimes, family members assume the role of estate administrator. While this can be a comforting choice, it can also lead to family strife. It can also be difficult to settle a loved one's estate during the grieving process.

When relatives are unable or unwilling to assume estate settlement duties or if family members argue over inheritance property, it can be helpful to hire a probate attorney to manage the estate or assist with settlement duties.

Administrators are compensated for their duties. Probate law dictates fee schedules for intestate estates. Decedents normally outline administration compensation within their Will. If not, fees can be paid as a percentage of estate value, flat fee, or hourly wage. Relatives often feel uncomfortable receiving payment for services rendered, but it is important to realize that estate settlement can require well over 100 hours of work.

At minimum, Administrators must file documents through probate court; secure and inventory estate assets; maintain real estate holdings; contact creditors and government agencies regarding the death; oversee distribution of inheritance assets; and file a final tax return on behalf of the decedent.

When appointed Administrators are unable to fulfill estate duties they must request formal dismissal through the court. A new Administrator must be appointed and confirmed through the court and documents filed to record the changes.

It is smart to designate two Administrators within the last will. Should the primary administrator become unable to manage the estate, the second administrator can quickly assume the role without the need for court confirmation.

When selecting an individual to settle your estate it is always best to discuss this decision with them. While you may think they are the most qualified person for the job, they may not want the added responsibilities.

The probate process for testate estates typically extends for 4 to 6 months, while intestate can extend for 9 to 12 months. Much depends on estate value, family dynamics, and court caseload. If heirs elect to contest the Will, probate can be prolonged for several months or even years.

To ensure your estate is settled in a timely fashion, it is imperative to engage in estate planning strategies. Certain types of inheritance property can avoid probate through implementing simple techniques. Some of the more common strategies include assigning beneficiaries to bank accounts, financial investments, and titled property.

It is always best to consult with a probate lawyer or professional estate planner to ensure inheritance gifts will be distributed according to your wishes. These professionals can offer strategies to minimize inheritance and estate taxes, protect assets, and help determine who would be the most effective estate administrator.

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About the Author

California real estate investor, Simon Volkov, provides information and resources about Making Home Affordable programs, foreclosure alternatives and how to short sale real estate via his website. Simon's comprehensive real estate article library offers up-to-date information to help borrowers make informed choices. Learn more by visiting www.SimonVolkov.com.