4 Questions About Estate Administration You Should Know

Are you going through the process of administering a loved one's estate, but you're feeling a bit confused about what is going on? You'll likely have the following question about the process of estate administration

When Is Estate Administration Necessary?

Many people confuse probate and estate administration because they are two similar processes that happen after someone passes away. When someone's estate goes through probate, it is because a will exists that dictates what the person's wishes were. The executor of the estate is responsible for taking care of what was requested in the will, with it essentially being the instructions that are followed during probate. 

With estate administration, there is no will left behind by the person that passed, which leaves plenty of decisions that need to be made by the estate administrator. 

Who Is Named As The Estate Administrator?

In an ideal situation, a will is left behind that names the executor of the estate. If there is no will, then the court will end up picking an estate administrator. This is typically someone that will be close to the loved one or their next of kin. This could be a spouse, child, sibling, or even a parent if they are still alive.

Do All Assets Need To Go Through Estate Administration? 

One thing to keep in mind is that many assets are automatically passed on to someone if they are listed as a beneficiary. This often includes retirement accounts and life insurance policies where assets are distributed upon the person's death.

However, there may also be accounts and assets that are in two people's names, such as a bank account or a house. Those accounts would automatically go to the other person when one person passes away due to the right of survivorship. The surviving owner would have complete ownership of the asset immediately, and not have to wait for it to go through estate administration. 

What Happens To An Estate's Debts?

Part of the role of being the estate administrator is to determine all of the debts that are owed by the estate. This includes taxes, bills, and expenses that are incurred during the estate administration process. Once all of those debts have been paid off, decisions can be made about how the rest of the estate will be distributed to the heirs. 

Still have questions about the estate administration process? Reach out to a lawyer that can assist you with your concerns. 

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