What Are the Duties of an Administrator of a Will?

The administrator of a will plays a vital role in terms of making sure the deceased’s wishes are carried out.

They are responsible for managing the estate as it goes through probate.

They must follow the guidelines stated within the will in terms of dividing up assets and making sure that any special instructions are adhered to.

An administrator has several duties as the will moves through probate.

Prepare the Estate

The first duty of an administrator has to do with preparing the estate. This includes gathering any necessary documentation, creating an inventory of any known assets, researching to discover if any assets may have been hidden or undeclared, and creating a list of expenses or creditors. Public notices must be posted to inform possible creditors that if they are owed money by the deceased that they must come forward and file a claim against the estate. The administrator must also deal with any correspondence or court-related matters associated with the preparation of the estate. They may also have to sell real estate and other pieces of property, if necessary. 

Pay Off Existing Debts

During probate, debts will be introduced and verified. Existing debts, such as hospital bills, funeral expenses, mortgages, and other bank loans, are tested and can be paid as soon as the funds are available to do so. Once public notices are posted, possible debtors have a specific amount of time (usually 60 days from the date of the posting) to come forward and file their claim. Each claim will be researched and, if proven to be substantiated, will be paid with funds from the estate. Possible heirs must also come forward within that time frame if they believe they are entitled to a percentage of the estate.

Divide the Remaining Assets

Once the assets have been gathered and all of the expenses paid, the rest of the assets will be divided up according to the instructions within the will. In most cases, family members will receive a percentage of what is left over. A will may also contain a list of special instructions. The list may contain items that have been set aside for specific individuals. The deceased may also have created a list of charities and specific donation amounts that are to be given to each one. The division of assets is usually declared as part of the reading of the will. 

Finalizing the Probate Case

The last step in the process is completing the probate case. This step involves making a statement that declares that all of the instructions of the will have been followed and that all expenses have been paid. The statement must also include a list of how the remaining assets were distributed. The administrator is also responsible for filing any tax documents and final declarations with the courts. They will continue to be responsible for the will until the court declares the case closed in probate court.

Call Indigo Family Law Today!

Being named the administrator of a will is a huge responsibility. It requires diligence in terms of making sure all assets are collected and inventoried. All expenses must be verified and paid according to the law, and remaining assets must be dispersed as noted in the will. An administrator will work hand in hand with the attorney who wrote the will if any legal situations arise during probate. Contact Indigo Family Law today if you need assistance working through administering a will.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

7 Tips for Making a Will That Benefits Your Children

Did you know 60% of American adults do not have a will? That seems like a significant oversight for a document of such magnitude.

It is the one document that can prevent your estate from falling apart after you pass.

When making a will, there are a few key components to keep in mind. Here are seven tips that will benefit your children. 

Name Your Spouse as Guardian

Sure, this sounds like common sense. If one spouse dies, the other spouse will remain the guardian of the children. However, believe it or not, there have been cases where, when one spouse dies, an outside party makes a play for custody of the children. When this happens, it is up to a judge to decide where the children shall remain.

Name an Alternate Guardian

If the worst case scenario, both parents should die, or you do not have a spouse, you will want to have an alternate guardian in place. Who in your life is well-positioned to care for the children, provide for them, and love them? Think about that and put it down in writing.

Designate a Trustee

After the children’s future guardian is secured, it is time to consider the property. Name a trustee to manage your estate until the children become of legal age.

This person will have full control over the money, real estate, and any assets. So, make sure you trust this person beyond a shadow of a doubt. 

We often see the guardian go on also to become the trustee. But, this is not a hard and fast rule. You will want someone who is fiscally responsible and supremely trustworthy.

Pay Your Trustee

The person you select to guard your property will spend a lot of time and resources handling the estate’s affairs. As such, it might be nice to compensate them for all their efforts. 

This does not have to come in the form of assets through the will. Instead, you can set aside an amount to compensate them.

Each state has a set of provisions in their probate codes, indicating how much a guardian can be paid. Your attorney can guide you on local law. 

Consider a Family Trust

Before you dive into probate law, ask your attorney about a family trust. In some cases, a trust can help your loved ones avoid probate and even save money when it comes to inheritance taxes. Of course, this will depend largely on your unique situation. 

Consider Conditional Gifts

In your will, you can include gifts that come with a prerequisite. This will allow you to rest assured that some of your wishes are being granted before your children inherit the estate. For example, you can condition a gift after the children reach a certain age or graduate college. 

Appraise Your Property

While specific property values fluctuate i.e., homes and cars, you can have other items appraised. Perhaps you have certain antiques or heirlooms. Including these amounts in your court documents allows you to be as specific as possible. 

Making a Will for Your Children

Sure, it is hard to consider a world where you do not exist. But, you can do so much to tie up loose ends and make sure everyone is provided for even after you are gone.

Making a will is not the most straightforward task but, here at Indigo, we put the family back in family law. Contact us today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Fledgling Filers: When Is it Too Soon to Write a Will?

Over half of Americans do not have basic estate documents like a will, trust, or powers of attorney.  Are you one of them?

You may think that you are too young to write a will, but an unforeseen accident can leave your family heartbroken and struggling.

To prevent your assets winding up in probate, it is crucial to start drafting your will asap.

We talk about which life changes impact your will and whether you need to write one now.

Life Events That Impact Your Will

There are certain events in your life that affect your finances and your assets. If you have gone through any of these significant changes you should write or update your will.

  • Getting married
  • Having children
  • Purchasing a home
  • Buying a car, boat, RV, etc.
  • Starting a business

You should update or review your will every five years. This makes sure that your assets wind up where you want them after your death.

Think You Are Too Young?

In South Carolina, you can create a will once you turn eighteen and are no longer a minor. While no one wants to think about dying, it is better to prepare for anything that life brings. Unexpected accidents happen to people of all ages.

Do not be unprepared. Dying without a will means you have no control over who inherits your assets. 

* It’s especially important to have a will if you have children.

Other than the points mentioned above, there are a few more factors that necessitate writing a will.

If You Have an Inheritance or Business Assets

Even if you have your inheritance in a trust, you should include it in your will.

If you have recently started a business within the last few years, include those assets in your will. Be sure to state any business succession plan you may have. Also remember to think about royalties, copyrights, and patents.

You Have Pets

If you have a pet that you want to be well taken care of after you pass, you should include them in your will. Remembering them when writing your will ensures they are cared for if anything happens.

You Have a Family History of Mental Illness

A testator (the person writing the will) must be of sound mind. Certain illnesses may affect your ability to make important life choices. For this reason, it is a good idea to write your will while you are young.

How to Write a Will

Wondering how to write your will? You can do it yourself with a template, but you need two disinterested signatories without anything to gain from your will to sign as well.

You can also speak with a lawyer to discuss your estate plan rather than do it yourself. Getting the assistance of an estate planning attorney might be easier since you can be sure that the document is legally binding.

Make a list of all your assets and beneficiaries beforehand so you do not forget anything. Remember, you can always edit your will. In fact, you should do this every few years or after any major life change.

Write a Will Now to Avoid Problems Later

As long as you are over eighteen, you are never too young to write a will. Writing one now will protect your assets and your family after your death.

No one likes to think about dying, but having a will means you are prepared for the future. It assures your possessions do not go into court and makes sure no one argues over who gets what.

Are you ready to talk about writing your will? Contact us to schedule a consultation today.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.