Do You Need Professional Help With Probate Administration?
Probate administration is the process of handling the basic issues involving an estate after a person's passing. Even if there are no disputes over the estate, there will be administrative concerns. You might wonder if you need probate administration services to manage these challenges. Here are four reasons to consider hiring professional help.
One of the biggest issues can be assembling the assets within the estate. Most assets require some proof of what happened to the owner. Suppose you need to collect the title for a house. Worse, the house is in a different state than where the estate's grantor passed. It is going to take time and documentation to work with the county government where the house is to obtain the title and eventually transfer it according to the terms of the will.
Similar issues occur with financial accounts. Banks and brokerages will want to see a copy of the death certificate to affirm that the person has passed. Depending on the decedent's finances at the time, there could be a lot of work.
Settling Debts and Paying Taxes
An oft-overlooked aspect of probate administration is paying off the deceased's obligations. Creditors and tax agencies have claims against the estate. Likewise, they can force the matter to a probate court if the obligations go unpaid. If the court concludes that the estate is unable to pay off all of the debts and taxes, the judge will force the estate into bankruptcy.
Consequently, an executor should make every possible effort to track down and pay the estate's debts and taxes. Then the court can have confidence that there won't be any outstanding claims.
Tracking Down Beneficiaries
People move on surprisingly fast. Even if the estate's grantor knew where everyone was a year ago, there could be people who've moved or fallen out of touch. Probate administration services providers are very good at digging through records and old contact information to locate and notify beneficiaries. Especially if you're dealing with numerous beneficiaries, this can make a big difference.
Reporting to the Court
Finally, the judge will want to see reports regarding any of the estate's issues. They will want to know what your status is for locating assets, paying debts, and notifying beneficiaries. If there are unsolvable problems that require adjusting the estate's disposition, you will need to document the good-faith efforts to address them. Also, you'll need to report administrative costs like maintaining buildings, paying for postage, and covering legal fees.