Offering a will for probate at the county’s Surrogate’s Court is the first step of the estate administration process. When a will is accepted, it is called a testate estate. Probate will establish the chosen executor and they must present the will on the estate’s behalf. The court will then issue the authority for the executor to carry out the estate’s wishes through Letters Testamentary.
Gathering assets and paying liabilities
An executor is tasked with collecting assets, determining value, and paying any debts or liabilities that remain outstanding. Letters Testamentary gives the executor the authority to act in the best interests of the estate and the beneficiaries. If an estate has overdue taxes, the executor will be responsible for that. If the estate needs to file tax returns, the executor will do it.
Closing the estate
Once an executor provides a copy of the will and makes distributions according to its directions, it may be time to close the estate, barring any legal issues. Before any distributions are made, a Release and Refunding Bond should be signed by the beneficiaries. This protects the executor if debts or taxes arise after the estate closes.
Contact an experienced estate administration attorney
An executor’s responsibility is complex. With so much at stake, it is important to pick the right attorney that can guide an executor through his or her obligations. If you are planning your estate, retain the services of an effective attorney to support your executor through the process. If you are an executor and you need an attorney, contact our firm to discuss your obligation and how we can help. Contact The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. for a consultation to discuss your estate matter.