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How Families Can Prepare For Estate Administration

Most people may be able to prepare for death and even lay out a comprehensive estate plan before passing on. However, many family members are not prepared to go through the complex process of estate administration.

Estate administration refers to steps and processes that ensure the last wishes of the decedent are eventually carried out in relation to assets in their estate. Many significant steps are often still required to manage the estate, even if the decedent had prepared trusts and a last will.

If there is a last will, it would name the personal representative, and if there is no last will, then one is appointed by the court.

In addition to initiating the probate process, some of the personal representative’s main duties include collating remaining properties, paying outstanding debts and estate taxes, and distributing assets.

Understandably, this list of responsibilities can become overwhelming, especially for a family member without experience or knowledge regarding estate planning and succession laws. There is a risk of mismanaging funds or being accused of doing so, which can have severe consequences for the person administering the estate. This is another reason many people will hire an estate administration attorney to handle these responsibilities.

How An Estate Administration Attorney Can Help

Hiring an estate administration attorney will give you peace of mind that the following tasks involving estate assets will be appropriately addressed:

  • Locating and accounting for all properties in the estate
  • Paying creditors of the estate
  • Computing and paying estate taxes
  • Distributing assets to heirs (as instructed in a will or trust)

If you’re appointed as a personal representative, you can consult an estate administration attorney to help you with the process. Call The Family First Firm to learn more.

What Are The Main Tasks Of A Personal Representative?

As a personal representative, your goal is to make sure the decedent’s estate is distributed according to their instructions and last wishes. This is a huge responsibility. Your tasks will include:

  • Preparing for probate (filing a petition)
  • Collating or making an inventory of the decedent’s assets and properties
  • Contacting the decedent’s creditors and settling debts or obligations
  • Notifying billers about the decedent’s death and impending probate
  • Paying the estate tax, if any
  • Dividing and distributing the assets to heirs and beneficiaries according to the decedent’s instructions

This list of responsibilities can be overwhelming. Consult an experienced estate administration attorney at The Family First Firm for guidance and assistance.

How To Deal With The Estate’s Finances

Many of your main duties as an estate administrator would involve the finances of the decedent. It is important to secure the estate’s assets first and try to locate any property that is not yet accounted for. Paying outstanding debts and obligations is another concern. You also have to make sure that the decedent’s billers are notified of his/her death. Credit cards, if any, must also be canceled, and proceeds from life insurance policies must be collected. One of your primary responsibilities will be to manage the payment of estate taxes.

The decedent’s debts and obligations should be paid from their estate. As the administrator, the responsibility falls on you, and there are repercussions for mismanaging the funds. If the process seems too complicated for you, contact The Family First Firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate administration attorney.


Why Choose The Family First Firm?

  • Individually-Oriented Solutions - The elder law attorneys at Family First Firm work with senior clients and their families to comprehensively address legal roadblocks. Our Medicaid and estate planning services are tailored to fit each client’s current and future needs.
  • Assist Clients In Every Step - Applying for benefits, guardianship, creating wills or trusts, and establishing other forms of asset protection can be overwhelming. To ease the stress, we are here to guide our clients and their family members every step of the way.
  • Credible and Highly Trusted - Our firm is recognized as one of the fastest-growing law firms in the U.S. in 2021 by Law Firm 500.
  • Accessible Legal Services - Booking your first free consultation is just a click away. You can schedule a consultation with our attorneys through our website and social media pages.

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Are Personal Representatives Entitled To Compensation?

Going through all the troubles of estate administration may seem like a thankless project. Fortunately, personal representatives in Florida are legally entitled to compensation.

Your compensation would depend on the total value of the estate. For estates worth more than $10 million, the administration fee is 1.5% of the total value.

Administrators of estates worth between $5 million and $10 million earn 2%. For estates worth between $1 million and $5 million, administrators earn a 2.5% fee as compensation. Estates of $1 million or less have an administration fee of 3%.

Are Personal Representatives Personally Liable For The Estate’s Debts?

Estate administrators cannot be personally liable for the decedent’s debts and outstanding obligations. All of these must be paid or charged from the estate.

If the estate cannot cover these debts, the creditors cannot collect from the administrator or the heirs. However, the personal representative is responsible for properly managing the funds available to cover these debts.

If you are creating an estate plan, you might also want to consider appointing a professional personal representative to administer your estate. That way, your loved ones won’t be overwhelmed with administration duties once you pass on.

Book a consultation with The Family First Firm to learn more about the process.

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