Probate is a court-supervised process for distributing the individually owned assets of a deceased person. Assets are distributed to beneficiaries in accordance to the instructions written in the person’s will. Any debts of the deceased person become claims against the estate which will need to be resolved prior to the remaining property being distributed unto the beneficiaries. Probate proceedings are open to the public.
This process can be very expensive and time consuming. The average cost of probate is 5-6% of the value of the estate. The average time for the administration of the estate is 9-12 months.
A separate probate, typically called an ancillary probate, is often required in each state where real property is owned.
Probate generally requires hiring an attorney.
If estate planning is the process of designing a playbook, estate administration occurs when the playbook is put into action. The process begins with an event that triggers a provision in your estate plan, such as incapacity or death. The plan becomes ‘executory’, meaning that the individuals you designated in your plan documents must step into action and execute according to your instructions.
Estate administration can be complex and the people you have designated must have competent and experienced counsel to guide them through the process. They must make important decisions ‘ sometimes quickly ‘ and they need help to make them wisely. They may need to prepare inventories of your property, prepare tax returns, or sign other important documents on your behalf. Ultimately they must divide and distribute your property to those individuals or charities you identified in your will or trust agreement.
The estate administration process carries a lot of responsibilities. We can help guide your loved ones through the process as sensitively and completely as possible, and will try to make it as straightforward and efficient as possible.