When a loved one passes away, the probate administration is what allows for the effective management and distribution of the deceased individual’s assets. Most people will own at least some assets and may still carry some debt at the time of their death. All of these assets and debts together form the estate of the deceased.
Probate administration is the process of closing an estate per that person’s estate plan (or lack thereof), which is overseen by the probate court system.
This probate administration is focused on carrying out what happens after a person dies, as opposed to wills, living trusts, or estate planning attorneys, which focus on putting a plan in place before death.
Probate Administration Process
The first step in the process is to file the will of the deceased in probate court. If there is no will, then someone must ask the court to appoint them as the administrator of the estate, which is often a spouse or an adult child. Once appointed, this person becomes the legal representative of the estate.
Next, the executor or personal representative should identify and notify all heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, and the public about the deceased individual.
Property should then be appraised in order to determine the value of the estate, including all assets and debts. When an estate lacks sufficient resources to pay off all debts and creditors, then the beneficiaries may not receive all of their inheritance.
Finally, the estate should pay all taxes to the IRS, and make any outstanding payments to creditors. Any leftover funds are then distributed to the beneficiaries according to the will. If no will was in place, then those assets will be distributed according to the laws of probate court. The personal representative will then be able to petition the court to draw up new deeds for property, transfer stock, liquidate assets, and so forth in order to transfer property to the appropriate recipients.
While those are the basic steps involving probate administration, that does not mean that the process is always simple. Some complications can arise, including when some assets are not subject to probate, such as life insurance, property owned in a living trust, or other items do not pass through probate. Furthermore, if an individual receives a disproportionate amount of the estate, there may be other beneficiaries who may contest the will, causing delays and complications in order to reach a resolution.
A properly drafted and regularly updated will, along with an organized record of debts, property, and other assets will simplify the probate administration process and make it easier for a personal representative to facilitate the process.
Whether you are going through probate administration for a loved one or planning your own estate, you should speak with the team at Fears Nachawati to help you navigate these difficult decisions. From living wills, powers of attorneys, and trusts to the disposition or probate estates, our caring attorneys and staff are here to help you create a plan for the inevitable which will ensure that you have a solid plan in place and that your family will not face additional hardship during an already stressful time.
Contact us today at (866) 705-7584 to schedule your appointment at one of our Texas offices in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, or San Antonio.