There are many different parts to elder law, probate court and administration are just parts of it. When it comes to the different aspects of elder law, it can be a little overwhelming with all of the information being provided for you. In this article, we’ll go over estate planning and how probate court and administration are involved in the process. If you have more questions and need assistance, please reach out to me and we can go over it together.

Estate Administration

Estate administration is the process of managing and distributing a person’s property after death. If your loved one has a will, it will go through probate which is when your loved one’s property is passed on to their heirs. This entire process is all supervised in probate court, which generally takes about a year.

What is Probate Court?

This is a specialized court that deals with property and debts of someone who passed away. The role of this court is to assure that your loved one has all their creditors paid off and any remaining assets are distributed to all beneficiaries. When it comes time for you or a loved one to choose probate, this person is in control of assets and debts. It is their duty to ensure that all debts are properly paid off and distributed.

What Doesn’t Go Through Probate?

There are obvious assets that will go through probate, but there are specific things that will not such as:

  • Jointly owned assets, those will be transferred to the surviving owner.
  • Assets with a beneficiary designation that clearly specify where they are going to.
  • Assets that are in a trust.

What is Probate Administration?

After a loved one passes, probate administration allows effective management and distribution of the deceased assets. Here is the breakdown of the entire probate administration process:

  1. Appoint an executor or personal representative, if there isn’t one already stated on the will. If no one is appointed, then the court will choose one. The person may collect fees from the estate for their work performance.
  2. Identify and notify heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors, and notify the public about your loved one passing away.
  3. Appraise the property left behind. The executor or personal representative must have an inventory of all the property to determine the value of the estate.
  4. Pay off taxes and distribute assets to creditors like the IRS to receive payments according to priority over and any leftover funds distributed amongst heirs.

Estate planning and management can be very stressful, especially when a loved one passes away. I work with my clients to clear up any confusion and answer any questions. I make it my goal to be sure you feel comfortable and confident in your decision making. If you are interested in working with me, please contact me, and we’ll discuss your specific needs.