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 addressed How To Know Which State Law Applies, Formal or Informal Probate and Personal Representatives. Part 2 addresses Inventorying Assets, Distributing Assets and Avoiding Probate Through Small Estate Administration.
After being appointed, the personal representative is expected to document all of the decedent's assets. This documentation is often referred to as the inventory. The personal representative must also inform the decedent's creditors that the decedent has died. If the decedent's probate assets are sufficient to pay the creditors, the personal representative will pay them from the estate. If the probate assets are insufficient, the personal representative may need to obtain court approval to determine which creditors should be paid.
If there are any assets left after the creditors have been paid, those assets are distributed according to the will. If there is no will, the decedent is said to have died intestate. State laws vary as to how to distribute the assets of an intestate decedent. The personal representative will also file any necessary tax returns. If the estate is owed any money, the personal representative may need to bring a lawsuit in order to collect it. If the will is contested, or if there is any other dispute over how to distribute the estate assets, the personal representative may have to "defend" the will in a probate proceeding.
If the decedent owned few assets, it may be possible to avoid the probate process. In many states, a "small estate administration" is available. Usually, in order to qualify for a small estate administration, the decedent's assets must not include real estate and must be worth less than a threshold amount determined by the state. If a small estate administration is applicable, the parties who are entitled to receive the decedent's assets may collect those assets by way of an "affidavit," a sworn statement that is filed with the court. Even in a small estate proceeding, though, the decedent's creditors may need to be paid from the assets before any estate assets are distributed.
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.
GET A FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION
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.