How does estate administration work? Well, this is when the trusted and responsible person that you chose in your Last Will & Testament comes into play. This person, whether a spouse, a family member or a friend is safeguarded with the duty of handling the probate process, if required, and ensuring that all assets are distributed according to your wishes. This individual, also known as the personal representative, has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the deceased handling all matters so that the estate is properly administered and settled.
The greatly preferred type of administration is voluntary. This quicker and easier process is allowed in limited situations where there is no real property and the sum of the total estate is valued less than $25,000. It should be noted that assets that do not require probate, for example those that pass automatically to an heir, are not counted within the threshold amount. Additionally, one motor vehicle is exempt from the $25,000. This type of administration occurs when the will has not been probated within 30 days. Any interested party can then file a statement swearing, under oath, that he/she will administer the estate according to the deceased’s wishes. This statement along with the death certificate and some additional documentation is filed with the probate court. If the deceased does not have a valid will, then the distribution must follow the intestacy rules of the state. Remember, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts legally requires the distribution of the estate according to the blood relation of the potential heirs when there is no will.
Once filed, the interested party can then proceed administering the estate according to the directions of the Last Will & Testament. Upon acceptance, the personal representative has the limited authority to handle the debts owed by the estate and discharge any debt owed to the estate. This person must first pay any funeral expenses and then pay any outstanding doubts before distributing the remaining assets accordingly. This process requires no court supervision or involvement and is a much easier and less complicated way.
If the requirements are not met for voluntary administration, the estate then has to go through the probate procedures as prescribed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For more information about the probate process, please see our section about this subject matter which gives additional details about this long, time-consuming, and costly process.
Don’t do administer the estate the hard way if you can avoid it. Contact our firm today and we will advise you if a voluntary administration is available and appropriate. Save yourself a lot of time, money and stress by calling our office today!
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