Whenever a person dies, his or her estate needs to be collected, managed, and distributed. Estate administration involves gathering the assets of the estate, paying the decedent's debts, and distributing the assets that remain in the estate. In recent years, state legislatures have attempted to reduce the complexity of estate administration. Many states have already adopted some version of the Uniform Probate Code (UPC), which was designed to simplify the estate administration process and provide similarity among probate laws from state to state.
This 2 part series of articles will identify the basics of estate administration including:
Part 1 addresses How To Know Which State Law Applies, Formal or Informal Probate and Personal Representatives. Part 2 will address Inventorying Assets, Distributing Assets and Avoiding Probate Through Small Estate Administration.
In some cases, an estate may need to be administered in more than one state. Generally, the state in which the decedent resided at the time of death will be the state where the decedent's estate is probated. However, state law governs the transfer of real estate, so if the decedent owned real estate in another state, it may be necessary to do an ancillary proceeding to probate that one piece of property in the state where it is located. An ancillary proceeding is a scaled-down probate proceeding, which governs only the assets located in that state. In some instances, it may be necessary to consult two attorneys, one in the state where the decedent lived and another attorney in the state where the decedent owned real estate.
In many states, a probate proceeding can be either formal or informal. An informal probate proceeding usually involves filing some basic paperwork, having the court appoint someone to manage the estate, paying the debts, distributing the assets, and having the court approve the distribution. The court's role may never require a hearing, but only a review of the papers filed.
In other instances, such as when a will is disputed, a formal probate proceeding may be required. A formal proceeding involves more court oversight and usually requires one or more court hearings. In some states, a probate proceeding can be formal in parts and informal in others. For example, the matter may start out formally, with a court hearing to appoint the personal representative, but end informally, with a paper filed with the court detailing how the assets are to be distributed.
The first task in a probate proceeding is appointing a responsible party to manage the estate. This person is usually called the personal representative. In Texas this position is known as the "executor." The personal representative may be an individual or a company, such as a bank. The personal representative may have been nominated by the decedent in the will. If there was no will, the court will usually appoint the surviving spouse or another family member. There may be more than one personal representative named.
If you're administering an estate, you have a lot of responsibility -- not only to the deceased party's legacy, but to the family members and other loved ones named in the will. For this reason, you should consult an Amarillo probate attorney who can help ensure that you're administering the estate properly. Many people have similar questions and go through the same line of questioning when deciding how to make their estate plan. It can be and often is critical that you get legal help understanding the basics of the estate planning process. The best way to get this understanding is to contact an experienced estate administration attorney near you. Stop and take a breath and call an Amarillo estate attorney who has had decades of experience. Pick up the phone and call Amarillo Probate Attorney, Bill Cornett. Bill is your choice as an experienced estate attorney in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle. Don’t waste another minute. Call him today.
Your most important action may end up being the phone call that you make to your Amarillo probate lawyer. In the Texas Panhandle that call should be to Amarillo attorney Bill Cornett. Whether you need assistance with a will, probate, or administration of an estate or a contested probate, contact the Law Office of Bill Cornett. Be smart…remember these phone numbers (806) 374-9498
or (800) 658-6618.
Bill Cornett, Amarillo Attorney, with Cornett Law Firm, offers affordable, qualified services as an experienced personal injury lawyer and probate attorney. Bill also has experience in estate planning and agriculture law. Sit down with Bill at his office located at 612 S. Van Buren St. in Amarillo TX by calling (806) 374-9498 or (800) 658-6618 TODAY to schedule a free consultation.
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Bill Cornett grew up on a farm in Knox City, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from Texas Tech University and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law School. Bill was licensed to practice law in the State of Texas in 1973.