What is Estate Administration?
“Estate administration” (also known as probate administration) is a term used to refer to the distribution of assets upon someone’s passing. Oftentimes, assets in an estate are passed on to family, friends, and loved ones of a decedent (deceased person) who has left behind a will. The probate court supervises the distribution of the estate to ensure it is done correctly so that the assets are distributed to the corresponding beneficiaries, and, if there is a will, according to the decedent’s wishes.
Every state has its own administration process. In the State of Florida, most estates are required to go through probate, and it is legally required that an attorney be present throughout the process.
What if There is No Will?
Here is a brief explanation of what happens to an estate if a decedent does not leave a valid will:
● The entire estate enters into probate for processing. Specifically, the assets are considered “intestate,” which means that the assets are being held until the court determines who the heirs are.
● Complex laws determine who the appropriate heirs are. These laws are outlined in Chapter 732 of The Florida Statutes.
● Click here to read a more detailed explanation of what happens to an estate when there is no valid will left by the decedent.
A probate attorney can help move along the probate process, making it faster and easier for the decedent’s family and friends during an already tough time.
How Many Types of Probate Are There?
In the State of Florida, there are 4 types of probate:
4. Disposition without Administration
For more details on the different types of probate in Florida, click here.
An experienced probate attorney, like those at Easy Estate Probate, can help guide you through the best probate and estate planning option for your and your family.
Does Administration Apply to Trusts?
The short answer is: Yes. The long answer is: The laws around “trust administration” are much more involved than the other forms of estate administration we have presented thus far.
Briefly, the person in charge of managing the trust is known as a “trustee.” The ones who receive assets from the trust are called “beneficiaries.”
Trustees are in charge of duties and functions such as ensuring that the assets are distributed according to the instruction and wishes of the decedent (in this case, referred to as the “settlor” or “grantor”). Other responsibilities of trustees include: ensuring that estate tax returns are filed and resolving the settlor’s debts, among other duties.
In short, trustees are legally responsible for distributing the assets within the trust to the beneficiaries according to the wishes outlined by the settlor. Things can get complicated if someone inexperienced in probate and trusts is left in charge. This is why it is important to entrust a probate attorney who knows the laws and processes and can handle all of the complexities for your family and friends.
Contact us for a FREE case review.