Estate administration, or probate, is the process by which a person’s debts and assets are managed, distributed, and settled after they have passed away. Every estate is unique and settling an estate involves numerous procedural, legal, and financial issues and responsibilities. A personal representative (also known as an executor, executrix, or administrator), who is either appointed by the court or in a will, is responsible for overseeing this process. Unfortunately, most individuals assigned as personal representative are unfamiliar with the tasks involved, which generally include:
- Filing a petition with the appropriate court to open the estate;
- Locating the last will and testament, if it exists, and presenting it to the court;
- Opening and closing an estate account with the appropriate tax I.D. number;
- Gathering, managing, and protecting all assets;
- Preparing and filing an inventory of assets with the court;
- Sale, transfer, or liquidation of estate assets (including personal property, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, interests in real estate, and the like);
- Identifying and notifying all heirs, creditors, government agencies, and other interested parties;
- Dealing with will contests and settling other probate related disputes;
- Settling all debts of the estate or defending against invalid claims;
- Paying all estate, income, and other taxes owed by the estate;
- Distributing all assets according to the will or law; and
- Preparing and filing an accounting of all distributions and payments out of the estate.
Handling these responsibilities can be a daunting task, especially when dealing with your own busy schedule and the loss of a loved one. If you have been named as personal representative in a will or have been appointed as a personal representative by the court, you may have many questions: What is probate? How do I probate a will? What is probate property? How do I probate real estate or personal property? What does a personal representative/executor do? What procedures am I responsible for? Am I entitled to compensation? How long will the process take? How can I protect myself from any liability, reduce probate costs, speed up the process?
Our probate lawyers can answer these questions and guide you through this time-consuming and often stressful process. At Keen Keen & Good, we provide comprehensive, full-service representation throughout the administration of your loved one’s estate. We will not send you out alone to deal with the responsibilities of probate. Rather, we work closely with you to provide assistance that works around your schedule and needs. In addition to the legal work necessary to probate the estate, we coordinate with any creditors, banks, brokers, government agencies, or other relevant organizations as they become necessary throughout the process. With over 30 years of experience in estate law and probate, we pride ourselves on the fact that we have been a trusted resource for hundreds of personal representatives in the administration of their loved ones’ estates. Our ultimate goal is to make the process as efficient, economical, and stress-free as possible, so that you can focus on getting closure and moving forward.
If you have been named as the personal representative, administrator, or executor of an estate, call Keen Keen & Good at 610-383-7810 today. We offer free, no-obligation, consultations to determine what steps you can take to properly administer your loved one’s estate.