Author: Simon Volkov

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Tips For Appointing a Wills Probate Personal Representative By Simon Volkov

  in Family Concerns | Published 2012-03-15 20:10:46 | 77 Reads | Unrated


Wills probate refers to a type of legal protocol used to settle decedent estates Upon death the last will and testament is filed through probate court for review

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Wills probate refers to a type of legal protocol used to settle decedent estates. Upon death the last will and testament is filed through probate court for review. Assets are secured by a designated estate administrator who is responsible for all facets of estate settlement. Inheritance property cannot be given to heirs, nor sold, without court authorization.

Wills probate estate administrators are designated within the Will. Oftentimes, court confirmation is required before Administrators can engage in estate settlement duties. Most people appointed to this position require som
e level of assistance from a lawyer to ensure the estate is settled according to state probate law.

Designating a family member to manage estates is common practice, but may not always be the best choice. Although family members are usually qualified to handle most administration duties, settling an estate while grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult to do. When family strife exists, those chosen for this position are often placed in the hot seat and take blame for things they have no control over.

Careful consideration should be given when appointing a probate representative. Not only should the person be able to work under pressure, they should also be good with finances and be able to mediate if problems do arise. It can be helpful to retain the services of a probate lawyer to assist with estate settlement duties or take over estate management if family feuds erupt.

Probate lawyers can prepare and submit documents to the court; assist with transfer of titled property; mediate family disputes such as contesting the Will; and sort through complicated matters that can arise during the probate process.

The average amount of time required to settle probated estates is 6 months. However, if claims are submitted against the estate or if heirs contest the Will, probate can be prolonged for months or even years.

When estate settlement is suspended, inheritance assets can depreciate in value. If the estate does not have sufficient funds to pay off outstanding debts or pay inheritance claims the estate administrator may have to sell inheritance property. Therefore, it is imperative for individuals to engage in estate planning strategies that can minimize the potential for having the Will contested or require assets to be sold.

Most people believe settling a probated estate is easy, but this is rarely the case. Although duties vary by the type of estate planning strategies used and type of inheritance property, personal representatives will dedicate a minimum of 80 hours to estate settlement duties.

Probate executors are responsible for securing all property owned by decedents. Appraisals are required for valuable items to determine date-of-date values. These values are used to assess inheritance taxes.

Additionally, personal representatives are responsible for contacting creditors and paying outstanding debts; contacting government agencies such as Social Security, Medicare, and Veterans Administration; filing a final tax return; and distributing inheritance gifts according to directives of the last Will.

Probate executors are financially compensated for their duties. Fees are determined by state probate laws, but are either paid as a flat fee, percentage of estate value, or hourly rate. When executors are paid hourly they must maintain detailed time sheets which document their duties.

Once duties are fulfilled, personal representatives appear in court to provide evidence the estate has been properly settled and inheritance property distributed accordingly. Upon approval, the wills probate case is closed and estate administrators released from their duties.



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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