One of the most critical parts of the estate planning process is to ensure that the estate is administered appropriately. This is done in part by nominating a competent individual to serve as executor after your passing.
That said, the job of estate administration can be challenging. A dedicated estate planning attorney could provide valuable counsel during this time. If you have been appointed to oversee this process as a personal representative, reach out to a Junction City estate administration lawyer.
There are numerous duties that the executor of an estate must see to. Each of these duties is important, and all of them could be accomplished with the assistance of a Junction City estate administration attorney.
The first step in the estate administration process is to determine if probate is necessary. If the estate includes a last will and testament, the executor of the estate must submit the will to the probate court. Once the probate case begins, it is the duty of the executor to notify all of the creditors and heirs of the proceedings.
Once the parties are notified, the executor can begin administering the estate. This usually begins with taking a careful inventory of the assets owned by the decedent at the time of their death.
In addition to securing assets, the executor must also identify and collect all income owed to the decedent. This includes interest, dividends, rent, or due notes. Any money owed to the decedent at the time of death must be collected for distribution.
Administering an estate is not all about the assets the decedent owned. Part of this process also involves identifying the debts owed by the estate as well. The estate will be responsible for any outstanding debts held by the decedent at the time of their passing.
Before the heirs can receive what they are entitled to recover through the estate, the executor must first deal with the creditors. This includes paying off any tax bill owed by the decedent. Only after the executor resolves all creditor claims can they distribute assets to the beneficiaries.
Distributing these assets will depend on whether there is a will. If there is a last will and testament, this document will determine who gets which assets. Without a last will and testament in place, state law will decide how family members inherit from the estate. An estate administration attorney could provide more insight into the state laws governing inheritance.
Not all duties are related to the specific tasks undertaken by an executor. Each executor also owes a fiduciary duty to the estate. This duty means that the executor must always operate in good faith when administering the trust. In other words, they must avoid self-dealing and make decisions based on the best interest of the beneficiaries.
Allegations of violating the fiduciary duty are serious. A seasoned local attorney could help ensure that the executor of an estate avoids any fiduciary violations during the administration process.
Executors are central to the administration of an estate following a person’s death. While this process can be complicated, executors do not have to take on these challenges on their own.
Let a Junction City estate administration lawyer advise you on your next steps in this process. Call today to learn more about what our skilled legal team could do for you.