Estate administration is a lengthy and demanding process. The executor or personal representative in charge of the estate will have numerous obligations.
They have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the estate and its beneficiaries. Doing so will require that they take numerous specific steps.
What are the basic obligations of a personal representative of an estate?
Locate a will and submit it to the probate courts
Finding someone’s estate planning documents is a crucial early step in estate administration. So too is initiating probate proceedings. Often, in between those two steps, the person acting as the personal representative will also need to secure the property left behind by the testator.
Notify creditors and settle financial accounts
The representative of an estate must fulfill the legal obligations of the testator whose estate they manage. Often, this process involves sending formal notification to creditors, publishing a notice in local newspapers, providing copies of death certificates to companies when necessary and settling accounts.
Only when the personal representative has notified creditors and repaid all of them can they move forward with the final stage of estate administration.
Distribute assets to beneficiaries
After the personal representative has settled debts and paid any remaining taxes on behalf of the deceased, they will need to distribute any assets remaining in the estate to the beneficiaries selected by the testator.
Fulfilling these three steps could take the better part of a year or more than a year in some cases. Understanding the obligations involved in estate administration will help you better fulfill those duties.