Administering an Estate

If you have just been named to act as an administrator or executor of an estate, you are probably wondering, “What in the world do I do next?” Do not worry. We would be happy to outline what estate administration is and some of the responsibilities and duties of a personal representative. It should not be a difficult job if you follow the law. Our Probate Team is here to help make sure that the inheritance process is as efficient and stress free as possible.

What is Estate Administration?

Let’s start off with some of the basics. What exactly is estate administration? Estate administration is the process by which a person acts on behalf of a decedent and takes care of the decedent’s affairs. There are a couple of different legal names that we label the individual who is handling the affairs of the decedent depending on how they were chosen. If the person left a will and nominated a person to take care of his or her interests, this person is known as an executor (male) or executrix (female). Similarly, if the person did not leave a will, the court can appoint an administrator (male) or administratrix (female) to handle the decedent’s interests.

Primary Responsibilities of Personal Representative

There are a number of responsibilities that a personal representative will have in administering an estate after being appointed by the court. It is important that the personal representative comply with such.

If the decedent left a will, the executor will send copies of the will to any beneficiaries. Similarly, if there was not a will, the administrator will send copies of the Letters of Administration to all the heirs. The representative will then complete and file an application for a release from any potential TennCare claims. The representative then will marshal any assets and file an inventory of the assets of the estate, unless the filing is excused by the will, the beneficiaries in writing, or the court.

The personal representative’s main responsibility is to then pay any debts or liabilities of the estate. Any creditors of the estate are required to file a claim of creditor against the estate. In addition, the representative is required to pay the income and death taxes of the estate. Following the payment of any debts or liabilities and required taxes, the representative then can distribute any of the remaining assets to any beneficiaries entitled to receive them. Following the payment, the representative then files an accounting with the court detailing the income, expenses, and any distributions made. Alternatively, the beneficiaries may sign a sworn statement that waives any accounting. Following the completion of all of the responsibilities, the representative is then able to seek an order from the court closing the estate. Upon the determination that everything within the estate has been handled accordingly, the judge will then approve the order to close the estate.

Contact The Higgins Firm Regarding an Estate Administration

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your responsibilities as a personal representative, be sure to contact our Tennessee probate attorneys at The Higgins Firm. Our Nashville based estate lawyers would be happy to help guide you through the estate administration process.