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.