Estate Administration Attorney Scottsdale Arizona Mark E. Hall. Generally, a personal representative, or executor, is an individual named in a will or appointed by a probate court. Also, this individual is responsible for closing out the decedent’s estate which includes, but is not limited to; paying off the decedent’s creditors and distributing estate assets to the appropriate beneficiaries. In addition, depending on the size of the estate, the personal representative’s responsibilities can become overwhelming.
Again, if you have been named personal representative and you need assistance; allow us to help you through this difficult time. Generally speaking, below are just some of the legal services we offer.
- Administer probate
- Administer small estate affidavit
- Locate, inventory, and arrange for appraisal of personal property
- Assist with locating, inventory, and arrange for appraisal of real estate
- Collect life insurance proceeds
- Manage the assets until time for distribution
- Open a bank account in the estate’s name
- Negotiate and settle any valid claims against the estate
- Obtain a tax ID number for the estate
- File income tax returns
- Oversee the distribution of assets to beneficiaries
Children frequently believe that their parents properly planned because they had a will, a properly funded a trust, or had designated certain individuals as beneficiaries on their bank accounts.
Unlike a probated will, a trust is a private document and need not become part of the public record at your passing. Although a trust may avoid the court process, there is still a substantial amount of work to administering a trust or an estate governed by a will. Successor trustees and personal representatives must still take steps to administer their duties. For example, beneficiaries must be contacted and kept notified; the trustor’s assets gathered and invested; their debts paid; potential creditors notified; taxes filed and paid; assets and/or income distributed in compliance with trust stipulations to beneficiaries, etc.
Successor trustees often lack the time, resources or knowledge to personally administer the trust, and therefore may call upon legal, accounting and investment professionals for assistance. We assist with the following duties:
GATHER, CONTROL AND MANAGE ESTATE ASSETS. Personal Representatives or Trustees have the duty to gather and control all assets which belonged to the decedent at the time of his or her death. After the valid debts and expenses are paid, they have the duty to distribute any remaining assets according to the decedent’s Will or Trust, if there is no Will, to the intestate heirs of the decedent.
FIDUCIARY DUTIES. Personal Representatives and Trustees are a fiduciary. This means they have a legal duty of undivided loyalty to the beneficiaries and the creditors of the estate.
PROTECT ASSETS. Personal Representatives and Trustees must immediately find, identify, and take possession of the estate assets and make proper arrangements to protect them.
INVENTORY ASSETS. The Representative or Trustee must prepare an inventory or list of the decedent’s probate assets and their values as of the date of death. The inventory must be mailed to all heirs, devisees, and other interested persons who have requested it.
STANDARD OF CARE. In administering estate assets, Personal Representatives and Trustees must observe the standards of care applicable to a trustee, including the prudent investor act.
KEEP DETAILED RECORDS. Personal Representatives and Trustees must keep detailed records of all receipts and expenses of the estate. They are required to provide an accounting of their administration of the estate to all persons affected by the administration.
PAY VALID DEBTS AND EXPENSES. They must determine which claims and expenses of the estate or Trust are valid and should be paid. They must provide to any creditor whose claims are not allowed prompt written notification that they will not be paid or will not be paid in full.
PAY TAXES. It is theri responsibility to determine that all taxes are paid and that all tax returns for the decedent and the estate are prepared and filed.
DISTRIBUTE REMAINING ASSETS. After payment of all debts and expenses of the estate or Trust, they must distribute estate assets as directed in the Will or Trustor.
CLOSE THE ESTATE OR TRUST. After distribution of the estate or the Trust has been completed, the estate or Trust must be closed.
Estate Administration Attorney