When a person dies, all of his or her possessions – real estate, money, stocks, personal belongings, etc. – become a part of his or her estate. Estate administration refers to the process of collecting and managing the estate, paying any debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining property to the heirs of the estate. The heirs of an estate are determined by will, and if there isn't a will, by the intestacy (which means dying without a will) laws of each state.
Our Guide on Estate Administration Basics provides information on how to administer an estate, what being an executor means, and what happens to a person's debts after his or her death.
Whenever a person dies, his or her estate needs to be collected, managed, and distributed. Estate administration involves gathering the assets of the estate, paying the decedent's debts, and distributing the assets that remain in the estate.
Lots of questions arise about:
Which State Law Applies?
Probate: Formal or Informal?
Managing the Estate: Personal Representatives?
Inventorying the Estate?
Distributing the Estate?
Avoiding Probate Through Small Estate Administration?
What Does an Executor or Administrator Do?
Serving as the executor of someone's last will and testament can be an honor and the most terrifying experience of your life at the same time. By definition, an executor is entrusted with the large responsibility of making sure a person's last wishes are granted with regards to the disposition of their property and possessions. When it boils down to essentials, an executor of a will is responsible for making sure that any debts and creditors that the deceased had are paid off, and that any remaining money or property is distributed according to their wishes.
Download our Guide to Executors/Administrators and their duties on the right.