Estate Administration & Probate
Probate is the legal process by which a person's debts repaid and assets are distributed upon her or his death. Lawyers refer to the entity that owns the deceased's assets until those assets are distributed as an "estate". Estate Administration includes the probate process as well as non-probate transfers of the deceased's assets. In fact, there are various assets and exceptions that result in certain property not going through probate at all.
The Law Office of Natalie J. Miller offers comprehensive estate Administration and Probate services. We can provide advice to executors and administrators on all aspects of estate administration and the probate process. Many small estates do not need to go through a formal process but rather the legislature has developed a shorter procedure.
The Formal Process (this process may vary depending on the court):
Step 1: If a will has been left then you are dealing with a testate estate. Often wills are left in safe deposit boxes. At death all safe deposit boxes are frozen. The court must be involved to unfreeze the safe deposit box. Then the will must then be submitted to the court for probate. You will apply for "Letters Testamentary". This requires that all assets of the estate be inventoried. Once the Letters Testamentary are issued, the clerk appoints the official personal representative.
If there is no will then you are dealing with an intestate estate. The court must assign a personal representative. The personal representative must be over 18, mentally competent, literate and suitable in the eyes of the clerk. Usually, the surviving spouse is the personal representative, but the spouse may ask that another person be appointed. The personal representative is often required to post a bond. Then the personal representative will apply for "Letters of Administration". This requires that all assets of the estate be inventoried. Once the Letters of Administration are issued, the clerk appoints the official personal representative.
Step 2: It is the personal representative's job to settled the estate as quickly as possible. The personal representative is liable for negligence, acting in bad faith, and intentionally mishandling property.
Settling the Estate: this includes notifying creditors, opening an estate checking and/or savings account, gathering assets, filing accounts with the court, distribution to heirs, and finally, closing the estate.
Please contact us or submit your case for review on our Case Review Page to discuss your estate administration or probate needs.
|Estate Procedure Booklet||Booklet provided by the Court regarding Estate Administration Procedures|
|Estate Administration Information for Relatives||What to do when someone passes away.|
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