You record your final wishes in writing when you plan your estate, but someone has to take care of the hands-on tasks that must be completed after your passing. In this legal guide, we will provide an overview of the estate administration process.
Simple Will and Probate
The way that an estate is administered will vary depending on the document that is used as a vehicle of asset transfer. If you use a will, you would name an executor to act as the administrator.
This is not a ceremonial title that you bestow as a sign of love and respect. Real-world financial and administrative duties must be completed by the executor, and there is some degree of personal liability. You should consider this when you are making your choice.
Of course, you should make sure that the individual who you want to designate as the executor is willing to assume the role. Anticipated longevity is another relevant factor.
Under the laws of the state of Kansas, the executor would be required to admit the will to probate, and the court would supervise during the administration process.
During probate, the executor would obtain copies of the death certificate and identify the beneficiaries. They would be contacted, and the Social Security Administration would be informed about the death of the testator.
The executor would collect mail addressed to the decedent, and they would cancel subscription services and credit cards.
Any death benefits that are due to the decedent would be collected, and the executor would start an estate bank account. To do this, the executor must obtain a unique Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service.
Creditors would be notified, and final debts would be paid, including taxes. The executor would identify and inventory all the assets and prepare them for distribution to the heirs to the estate.
When everything is in order to the court’s satisfaction, the estate will be closed, and the executor will distribute the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the wishes of the decedent.
Living Trust Administration
If you have a living trust, the administrator would be the trustee who you designate when you are drawing up the trust declaration. This can be someone you know personally, and you can alternately use a trust company or some other professional fiduciary.
The tasks that must be completed by the trustee are similar to the executor’s duties, but there is one major difference. When a living trust is being administered, the probate court would not be involved, and this would simplify matters.
Probate serves a purpose, but it will typically take eight months at minimum, and no inheritances are distributed while the estate is being probated. There are court costs, and the executor is entitled to remuneration.
In many cases, the executor will bring in a probate attorney, and an account may be engaged as well. There can be appraisal and liquidation charges, and there will be incidental expenses that must be added to the debit ledger.
Plus, probate records are available to anyone who wants to access them, so there is a loss of privacy.
As you can see, the fact that a living trust is not subject to probate is a major benefit, and there are many others.
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You should consider the complete picture when you are planning your estate so you can facilitate fast and efficient transfers to your loved ones. Each situation is unique, and there are different approaches that can be taken, so personalized attention is key.
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