In California, an Estate Administrator can either be named as part of your estate plan or one can be appointed by the probate court. In a previous post, we discussed some important points about naming an executor. If you haven’t read that post, make sure that you do. Choosing the right Estate Administrator is important because this person will have specific tasks they must complete. We’re going to discuss some of the most important duties in this post.
The Administrator Starts the Probate Process
The first duty that an Estate Administrator performs is starting the probate process with the court. If an Administrator isn’t named, the court will appoint one. This appointment takes place via Form DE 147. This document is important because it tells the Administrator what they must do in their appointed position. They must read, sign, and return the form to the court.
Make an Inventory of the Assets
The assets must be inventoried. You can help with this process while you’re preparing your estate plan by creating an inventory of your assets. This inventory may need to be changed over time so that it accurately reflects your belongings. Not all assets will go through the probate process. You can learn more about which assets are subject to probate by reading this post. Some assets may need to be appraised as well. Getting an accurate appraisal is an important task.
Paying Final Expenses and Creditors
It is the job of the Estate Administrator to pay for the final expenses out of the funds of the estate. They must also notify the creditors of the death. The creditors are given up to four months from the date the estate was opened to file the claim. In some cases, they’re only given 60 days from the date of the notice of the claim. Once the claims are filed, the Administrator has the task of paying debts out of the funds of the estate.
Paying Income and Estate Taxes
The next important task of the Administrator is to ensure that income taxes and estate taxes are paid. Income taxes and estate taxes won’t necessarily apply to every estate. However, they may in some instances. This is why it is important to point out that they are a possibility.
If there is a Last Will and Testament, the Estate Administrator can locate some, if not all, of the heirs by reading the document. If there is no will, the task can become a little more burdensome. Common heirs include surviving spouses, biological and / or adopted children, parents, and siblings. Of course, that’s not a full list of possible heirs.
Distributing the Estate to the Heirs
It is the job of the Estate Administrator to distribute what is left of the estate after paying final expenses, creditors, and taxes. If there is a will, this job may be easier because it will list some, if not all, of the assets and how they are to be distributed. If there is no will, California state law determines how assets are distributed.
If you’d like to learn more about the probate process and whether ProbateSimple can possibly help you receive your inheritance faster, use our contact form or our chatbot to answer a few simple questions.