When a person passes away, it can take several months, even several years to administer the person’s estate. Depending on the complexity of the estate, the number of beneficiaries and the types of assets involved, the amount of work to conduct probate administration could be considerable.
For some estates with few assets, it may be possible for an executor to handle probate administration duties on their own. But in larger estates where complicated issues may be in play, it is highly advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced probate lawyer.
With a probate lawyer handling much of the duties, heirs can concentrate on recovering emotionally from the loss of a loved one, and rest easy knowing that decisions will be based on the wishes put forth in a will, trust or another legal document.
A probate administrator will take several steps in the probate process:
- Identify, collect and manage all elements of the estate, including real estate, valuables, life insurance policies, bank accounts and other assets.
- Continue to manage the affairs of the estate, such as paying bills, working with the courts to validate a will, and identifying which beneficiaries will receive which assets when they are disbursed.
- Once all debts have been identified, the administrator will pay off all those debts and make sure all creditor’s claims have been satisfied. This may include funeral expenses, attorney’s fees, accountants’ and appraisers’ fees, tax debts, and other related expenses.
- After all debts have been satisfied, the administrator can distribute assets. In many instances, this may be done concurrently on a partial basis while debts are being paid so that beneficiaries can see some of the financial benefits associated with their inheritance sooner rather than later.
Raun Muntz O-Grady LLP serves clients in Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Anaheim, Orange County and communities throughout Southern California.