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Probate Executor Large Administrator Duties for Probate Court Attorney.

A probate executor is also referred to as the estate administrator or estate executor. Probate executors are responsible for settling the estate of a person who has died. If the decedent executed a Last Will and Testament, the probate executor is required to adhere to the declarations outlined in the document. If the decedent dies intestate (without a Will), the probate executor must adhere to policies of the probate court.

The probate executor has multiple duties including handling the decedent's financial affairs and distributing their assets to heirs. If the decedent's estate is small (valued under $25,000) and does not involve real estate or financial holdings, the executor might be able to administer the estate without the assistance of a probate attorney

The majority of probate estates require assistance from an attorney. This ensures documents are properly filed and adhere to deadlines established by the probate court. The probate executor can be held liable for errors made in distribution or failure to file a final tax return on behalf of the decedent. Therefore, it is best to seek the advice of a probate attorney and at minimum, have them review tax assessment forms and important legal documents.

Oftentimes, the designated probate executor is responsible for making funeral arrangements. In instances where the decedent has pre-arranged their funeral, the executor's duties would include following directives outlined in advance. This generally involves contacting family and friends and finalizing plans with the funeral director.

If the decedent did not prearrange their funeral, the probate executor may be required to select a coffin, purchase a burial plot or arrange for cremation. The probate executor will need to provide a copy of the decedent's life insurance policy to the funeral director. If no life insurance exists, the decedent's estate or family members will be responsible for the cost of burial.

Additional duties of the probate executor include contacting the Social Security Administration to advise them of the decedent's death. If the decedent received social security or disability benefits, the probate executor is responsible for contacting SSA to request stoppage of payments. If the decedent was entitled to Medicare or Medicaid benefits, the probate executor must contact the agency and inform them of the decedent's death.

If the probate executor is handling the estate without the assistance of an attorney, he will be responsible for filing a Notice to Creditors. The probate process requires all credit card companies and lending institutions be notified of the decedent's death within 30 days. The executor is responsible for paying outstanding debts prior to making distribution of funds to heirs.

All insurance policies held by the decedent should be cancelled with the exception of automobile, homeowners or renter's insurance. The aforementioned policies should remain in place and paid by the estate until distribution of insured assets takes place.

In order to close the estate, the probate executor is required to appear in front of a probate judge. A detailed inventory list of probate properties owned by the decedent must be submitted, along with proof that outstanding debts have been paid and assets distributed according to the decedent's Will.


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Published on September 19, 2008 at 02:55 AM

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