Estate administrator refers to a person appointed to manage the estate of a person who has died. Administrators are generally family members, a professional estate planner or probate attorney. When a family member is appointed to this position, they typically require assistance from a professional to ensure legal documents are properly filed through probate court.
An estate administrator has multiple duties. It is important to appoint someone capable of handing financial matters and able to make difficult decisions under stress. Administrators must be at least 18 years of age and never convicted of a felony. It is best to appoint an estate executor who resides in the same state as the decedent. However, this is not a necessary requirement.
Professional estate planners recommend designating two estate administrators. If the primary probate executor is unable to administer the estate, the second named executor can quickly step into the role and assume duties.
When the primary estate administrator opts out of duties, a letter must be submitted to the attorney or estate planner that established the decedent's Will. Otherwise, legal issues could arise.
Prior to designating an estate executor in your last will and testament, it is a good idea to discuss this position with the person first. Although you may feel this person is best suited to assume the role of administering your estate, they might not be able or willing to take on duties.
The estate administrator is compensated for their duties through the decedent's estate. Administration fees must adhere to probate laws in the state where the decedent resided. Administrators might be compensated at an hourly rate, flat fee or percentage of the estate value.
Unless decedents establish a trust, all inheritance assets must pass through probate. The probate process generally takes six to nine months. During probate, all assets are frozen and inheritance cannot be distributed until court authorization is received.
Probated estates can be difficult to manage. Much depends on if a last will has been executed, the estate value, and family dynamics. If a person dies intestate (without a Will), a probate judge will appoint someone to the position of estate administrator and inheritance assets are distributed according to probate law.
The only way to have the final say in how your assets are disbursed upon death is to establish a trust. Many types of trusts exist and most can be arranged according to the type of assets you own. Common trusts include living trusts, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts and irrevocable life insurance trusts.
Many options exist for executing a legal Will. Preformatted forms can be downloaded via the Internet or purchased at office supply stores. Most attorneys can establish a last will for a nominal fee.
Individuals who own assets valued at $50,000 or more should consider engaging in estate planning to determine which method will best protect inheritance assets for designated heirs and beneficiaries.
Wills and trusts should be regularly updated to include newly acquired assets or to add or delete beneficiaries. We encourage you to learn more about the duties of administrators, establishing a will, and engaging in estate planning via our estate management article library.
Simon Volkov is a private investor who engages in probate liquidation. If you need cash for inheritance or if you are an estate administrator who needs to sell real estate or financial holdings to close an estate, contact Simon Volkov today to determine available options.
Published on October 14, 2009 at 02:07 AM
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