When a family member dies, his or her estate needs to be collected, managed, and distributed. Probate and estate administration involve gathering the assets of the estate, paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the assets that remain in the estate in its most simplified form. However, due to the complexities of the law involving estate administration, a named executor (a responsible party to manage the estate) should be familiar with the necessary fiduciary duty of probate management. In some cases, an estate may need to be administered in more than one state making the proceedings even more difficult.
Our probate attorneys have years of experience with the handling of all the necessary filing requirements, probate of wills, the post-death administration of trusts, and the successful closing out of estate matters – all while making sure any unnecessary delays are avoided. While this process can be easily explained, when you’ve lost a family member or someone close to you, you already have more than enough to worry about.
The following is a very general list of procedures that must be taken to probate an uncontested estate:
- The original will and death certificate must be filed with the court.
- All of the departed’s assets must be located.
- Distributees and heirs must be located and provided with a copy of the will.
- All of the departed’s valid debts must be paid.
- All the departed’s assets, however legally passed (will, contract, or law,) must be re-valued to determine whether an estate tax liability exists.
- An inventory of these re-valued assets must be prepared and filed with the probate court.
- The departed’s final income tax return needs to be filed.
- The executor’s estate income tax return needs preparing and filing.
- State and federal estate tax returns need to be prepared and filed.
- Upon proof that debts and estate taxes are paid, the executor distributes the estate.
- Beneficiaries have the option to request for an accounting of the estate assets; therefore, a formal accounting of all estates assets and income must be provided and filed with the court.
- All the documents supporting the estate tax return must be produced if the government decides to audit the estate.
Add the possibility of a contested estate and it’s easy to understand the benefits of having an experienced law firm handle your probate administration for you. We are familiar with the complexities and necessary precautions while taking care of the legal details involving government agencies, financial institutions, and potential creditors of the estate. Thurman Law understands that estate administration is not just another legal process – it requires specific knowledge along with compassion as our clients are seeking legal assistance while grieving the death of a loved one.