Losing a loved one is never easy. In the blur of emotionally processing the loss, funeral planning, obituary writing, and figuring out how to administer an estate, it is easy to overlook this question: should I administer the estate? The answer to this question is frequently no.
Probate the will vs. Estate administration
That does not mean you do not need to “probate the will.” Probate and estate administration are related but two separate things. Probate is the act of a court accepting a will as a valid and enforceable last will and testament. Estate administration is the process of gathering the deceased person’s estate assets and distributing them in accordance with law and the will, if one. While the terms “probate” and “estate administration” are often interchanged conversationally, they have distinct legal meanings.
There are many estate planning techniques that allow someone to leave assets to loved ones and avoid the administration process. These techniques include naming beneficiaries, joint ownership, and trusts. In other words, estate administration is not always required to distribute the assets as the deceased person intended.
Sometimes it is wise to avoid estate administration even when there is no estate plan. For example, when a person dies with more debts than assets or with no assets.
It is also possible to probate a will (submit it to the court) without committing to the administration process.
Call 757-722-0611 to make an appointment about your loved one’s estate.