Probate administration is the process of passing one’s assets to family members (also referred to as beneficiaries). If an individual passes away with probate assets exceeding $75,000, their estate must be administrated formally.
Formal probate administration requires the filing of many documents with the court. The personal representative (or executor) may also retain a law firm to file the probate documents on their behalf. The personal representative must first file a Petition with the court asking to open the estate and for the formal permission to administer the estate. Proof that such individual is the correct personal representative is contained in the last will and testament and is submitted along with the Petition. If the court finds sufficient authority, letters of administration are issued to the personal representative. The letters of administration are used to prove an individual’s authority to administer an estate to third parties.
The personal representative must collect the assets of the estate and keep them safeguarded throughout the duration of the probate administration (this may include running a decedent’s business). The personal representative is required to notify all potential creditors that a probate has been opened and give them sufficient time to file a creditor claim for payment. If a creditor files a claim, the personal representative can either object to the claim or pay the claim. There may also be negotiations with creditors to lower the total payout in exchange for the release of the creditor claim.
Prior to closing an estate, the personal representative must present the court and the beneficiaries with an inventory of the assets and an accurate accounting. Once all of the creditors have been paid or have waived their claims, a Petition to close the estate must be submitted to the court. Upon the court’s order, a distribution of assets to beneficiaries occurs.
Contact the Attorneys of The Noble Law Firm, P.A. to assist you with minimizing your probate assets or with the probate administration of a loved one’s estate.