When a loved one dies, it can be difficult to be able to follow the guidelines and procedures to appropriately probate their estate. At Alexander & Doyle, PA we have assisted many clients through the years with this process.
There are a variety of duties that must be accomplished in order for a descendant’s estate to be probated. These will include paying debts, filing tax returns, and distributing the proceeds of the estate to the beneficiaries.
This process can be quite time consuming and emotionally draining on family members who are suffering from the grief of a loved one’s passing.
While this process can be accomplished by a layperson, there are often pitfalls that the average person may not be able to predict. Therefore it is often better to hire an attorney to probate the estate.
Probate Estate: The Executor / Administrator of the Estate
Once a will has been probated, the functions of the Executor and Administrator are essentially the same, with each having the following minimum duties:
- Safeguard the estate’s property
- Inventory the property
- Submit accounts and inventories to the court as required
- Pay the debts and expenses of the deceased (including funeral and burial expenses, costs of last illness, and outstanding medical bills)
- Pay any federal or state death taxes
- Distribute the assets of the estate to those named in the will or, if no will exists, to the next of kin
As one might guess, these duties often require a great deal of time in communicating with the clerk’s office, filing documents, retaining an accountant for tax filings, etc.
The estate may pay (with the approval of the court) the Administrator or Executor a small percentage of the estate for performing these duties. The attorney will discuss with you her fees based upon the particular facts and circumstances.
Responsibilities of the Estate Executor / Administrator
The Executor / Administrator of the estate must notify the estate’s creditors of the death of the person. Also, several inventories must be periodically submitted to the court to document the inflow and outflow of any property or funds to or from the estate.
Generally, the Executor / Administrator will use the estate’s assets to pay creditors, pay the expenses, taxes, and bills of the estate, and use the remaining assets to distribute to the heirs of the estate.
Although an estate may be settled in 12 months from retaining the attorney, many larger estates need more time to be settled. Of course the length of time required is highly dependent on the facts and circumstances behind each case.
Need An Experienced Probate Attorney?
The attorneys at Alexander & Doyle, P.A. are experienced in handling both probating an estate and preparing wills and trusts.
Contact us below to schedule your consultation today.