What is the Estate Administration Process Like?

If you are in the process of creating a comprehensive estate plan, you will most likely wish to appoint an administrator of your estate. This must be someone you trust, as he or she will be responsible for completing all the steps of the probate process and closing your estate. If you are curious about the estate administration process, here are some of the questions you may have:

What are the responsibilities of a personal representative?

The person you choose as your personal representative will have a lot on his or her plate. Not only must you trust this person, but you must also ensure he or she is responsible, organized, and competent. When you pass on, your personal representative’s job begins. Here are the steps your personal representative must take in order to close your estate:

  • They must first file the decedent’s will with the Register of Wills. You must do this in the county where the decedent resided, regardless of whether the will has to go through probate. If necessary, the personal representative may also have to file a petition for probate with the Orphans’ Court.
  • Your personal representative will have to create an account of all the decedent’s beneficiaries, assets, and any other remaining creditors. There must also be an inventory taken, which will include the assets and their appraised values. 
  • Your personal representative is then required to publish a statement in the local newspaper instructing anyone who has a claim to make against the decedent to do so.
  • He or she will have to ensure all outstanding federal, state, and estate taxes are filed.
  • He or she will have to distribute all assets to beneficiaries named in the will.
  • Your personal representative will have to handle any contested matters of the asset distribution amongst heirs.
  • Lastly, he or she must file a Certificate of Compliance to close the estate. 

What happens if the estate goes into litigation?

If matters of your estate go into litigation, your family must hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It is drastically important that your wishes are carried out accordingly. This is why when you are writing your will, it is best not to do so alone. There are many online will-writing kits out there, but these open you up to several potential legal pitfalls. The best way to write a will is with the help of a knowledgable attorney.

Contact our Maryland firm

The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.