Steps to Administering an Estate

estate planning The administration process of an estate or trust will typically take six months to a year to complete – and that is a big role to take for anyone. The fiduciary will have numerous tasks that they must complete as part of their role as the administrator of the estate. They will also have long periods of waiting; in which they must constantly keep up-to-date on the progress of the estate. In addition, there are numerous complications that can arise during estate administration, such as contests, disputes among beneficiaries and other assets that are difficult to liquidate.

If you have been given the role of executor of an estate, you are taking on a big task and one that you may not be fully prepared for. That is why it is important to understand the steps involved in a typical estate administration, so that you can better understand what to expect.

What to Expect as an Estate Executor

  1. Take Charge of the Estate – The first step will be to assume your role and secure all paperwork necessary to show that you have the authority to operate as the executor of the estate. This will mean applying to the court for letters of authority based on the contents of the deceased’s will. You will then also need to obtain a tax ID number from the IRS as the estate to file taxes for any income received by the estate.
  2. Sending Notifications – You will then notify all parties interested in the estate or trust.
  3. Inventorying all Assets – Your next job is to identify and list all assets associated with the estate. You will then send that list to the court as well as all known beneficiaries. The fiduciary will then gather the assets under his or her name and the new tax number.
  4. Paying All Debts – Before anything can be distributed to the beneficiaries, the debts of the estate must first be satisfied. Creditors will have six months from the date of the death to file their claims and the estate’s executor must pay them as soon as possible.
  5. Filing Taxes – The executor is also responsible for filing income tax returns for the estate. He or she must file these with the state as well as the IRS and pay any applicable estate taxes before the rest of the assets can be distributed.
  6. Distributing and Accounting for Assets – This is the final step of the estate’s administration. It requires the executor to present an accounting of all assets, all debts paid and any distributions for approval by the court and all beneficiaries associated with the estate. The final distributions cannot be made until any objections are heard and resolved.

Finding the Right Executor Starts with Drafting the Right Will

Before you can even select your executor, you need to start inventorying your assets and coming up with a plan for how you want your assets handled upon your death. This starts by engaging in a conversation with a New York estate planning attorney. If you have not yet drafted a will or moved your assets into a trust, now is the time. Speak with someone from the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin today during a free consultation at 516-605-0625. You can also ask a question online via our online contact form.

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