An estate moves into the administration phase once the legal paperwork is completed and a personal representative has been assigned. Usually an estate is administered through the following steps:
Inventory of Assets
The first step in the administration of an estate is to identify, collect, and preserve all the assets of the deceased. Once the personal representative has a good idea of how much the estate is worth, he or she can move on to the remaining items of administration.
Deal with creditors
Creditors of the deceased must be paid before heirs or beneficiaries. The most common debts are medical debts, or some sort of credit card debt.
Liquidation of Assets
Once all creditor claims have been identified, the estate can begin to sell assets to either pay off the claims or to begin distribution.
Accounting & Distribution
At this final stage of estate administration, the personal representative pays all remaining expenses of the estate, including reimbursements for any out-of-pocket expenses he or she made on behalf of the estate. Once all expenses have been accounted for, the personal representative distributes the estate to the heirs or beneficiaries.
Finally, the personal representative may ask the court to approve the final accounting and close the estate, protecting the personal representative from any future claims against him or her.
If you need help with the administration of an estate, we are here for you. Our attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable in each of these steps and can help answer your questions and guide you through this process.