The complete guide to the Estate Administration process

What is Estate Administration?

During one’s active lifetime, one tends to earn and accumulate wealth, assets, and other financial instruments, which need to be organized in such a way that in the event of the individual passing away or being rendered incapacitated (by an illness or accident), there is legal provision for how the money is to be distributed or used to look after them. This planning and management of one’s entire estate and finances are called Estate Administration.

Every State has different laws under which this administration needs to be set up and executed.


Steps involved in Estate Administration

Once a person has passed away and all the funeral duties have been done away, a complete assessment of the deceased person’s assets and finances must be done in detail. A check should be run to see if a will has been left behind and what the provisions are detailed in it. The funeral home director must obtain a death certificate, and you must notify social security services in case the decedent received any benefits. The deceased’s attorney should be contacted and informed of the death, enabling them to present any will or other documents in such a scenario.

If there is no will, the State intervenes to decide how the estate must be distributed. Usually, the surviving spouse and children are considered first and later the distant relatives.

Key Roles in Estate Administration

1. Fiduciary – A fiduciary is a person or a company appointed to manage the finances and estate on the person’s death. Choosing the right individual or institution for estate administration defines an estate’s successful execution. Trustees and Executors are two different types of fiduciaries. A Trustee is left in charge of a trust to be managed on behalf of a minor or someone incapable of taking care of it themselves. Depending on the terms of the trust, a trustee can be a longer-term position, lasting for several years. An Executor typically settles the estate and executes a will by seeing that the legal letter of the law is followed in the instructions left through the will. An executor is a short-term position and will end once the estate has been administered satisfactorily under the eyes of the law.

2. Guardian – A guardian is someone entrusted to look after a minor child’s welfare who cannot make decisions to take care of and manage their life. This could involve day-to-day maintenance and the routine of a child’s life, from where to live to where to go to school and medical facilities. Typically guardianship ends when a minor reaches the age of 18 or the legal adult age as prescribed by the law.

3. Agent – An agent is deputed under a property or financial power of attorney agreement wherein a person is designated to handle the entire estate (other than the trusts) while a person is still living. This can include all the financial assets like annual income, properties, cars, jewelry, bank accounts, companies, stocks, shares, insurance, and benefits owned and accumulated by the person. Only one agent can be nominated and must be capable of managing and understanding these responsibilities.


Why Monastra & Grater, LLC

Estate administration law can be extremely tedious and challenging to handle as a DIY. Therefore, it would be wise to invest in the legal services of a highly experienced and knowledgeable estate administration attorney like Monastra & Grater, LLC in Pottstown, PA.

Contact Monastra & Grater, LLC at (484) 644-3830 or email them at [email protected] for a quick and efficient consultation for any concern and query regarding estate administration.