Representing Executors, Administrators, Beneficiaries, and other parties in Estate Administration matters
There are many steps that must be taken when someone is appointed as Executor of an Estate, and we can represent the Executor throughout the process. This representation includes: accompanying Executors and Administrators to the county Surrogate’s Office to begin the probate process; Accounting for Assets, Debts, and Expenses of the Estate; Assistance with closing or liquidating financial accounts and creation of Estate bank account to deposit Estate assets; Assistance with filing claims for life insurance and other available death benefits; Applying to the Internal Revenue Service for a tax identification number for Estate; Communicating with beneficiaries and ensuring appropriate documentation is completed by the beneficiaries prior to assets being distributed; Coordinating with a Certified Public Account to ensure proper completion of Estate and/or Inheritance Tax returns; Representing clients in Will contests and beneficiary disputes, including litigation.
Representing Estates where there is no Will
If a person dies without a Will, someone, typically a relative or close family friend, will have to apply to be appointed to be in charge of the Estate as the Administrator of the Estate. Who may be appointed Administrator is determined by State law. The surviving spouse or domestic partner has the first right. Children of the decedent are next. However, any heir may be appointed assuming they obtain the appropriate written approval from any other heir who has an equal or prior right to be appointed. If more than one person is eligible, then they all must agree on who will be the Administrator, and the other eligible family members must provide a formal renunciation. If they cannot agree, then further Court action will be required, taking the decision out of your and your family’s hands. The applicant must also provide an informal accounting of the assets of the estate. A Surety Bond must be purchased by the Administrator. The premium for the bond is based on the value of the Estate, and typical cost is around $1,000.00 to $1,500.00 annually as long as the estate is open.
In addition, if a person dies without a Will, and there is no surviving parent, a guardian will be appointed by the court for minor children. The person who is appointed may not be the person you would have chosen to be guardian of your children.
We will assist you through every step of this process and strongly advocate for the best outcome for you and your family.