ESTATE ADMINISTRATION BASICS

If your family member has recently passed away, you may be faced with the daunting task of estate administration based on your loved one’s estate documents. Even though estate execution is something that occurs every day, few of us have actual experience with the process. Our article will help you learn more about the processes involved in making sure your loved one’s directives are followed.

The first step in executing an estate is finding the decedent’s will. This document will generally distribute assets and goods according to the individual’s wishes. The will should include information such as the name of the person who has authority over the probate administration. This person is known as an executor. Your Florida estate plan could also include information about trusts and other methods for distributing assets.

Even if a will is not present, certain assets are allotted to recipients known as beneficiaries. These include life insurance policies, retirement accounts, jointly held properties and assets that have been stored in a trust. The person who handles the trust has probably already been named as well; that person is known as a trustee.

In some cases, the beneficiaries of these policies and documents include the estate itself. In that case, the proceeds may not be considered in the probate assets, depending on the state’s legal structure.

Available wills must be presented to the courthouse in the county where the decedent retained residency. The probate process then starts, providing legal support for the provisions in the will and other estate documents.

If you are having difficulty understanding or executing a loved one’s will, you do not have to trudge through the process alone. Consider seeking the assistance of a qualified probate attorney to help you learn more about your legal and financial options as a trustee or executor. This information can help you distribute your relative’s assets with confidence and fairness, according to their last wishes.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.