When someone dies without a Living Trust that identifies how his/her estate is to be distributed, the estate goes into Probate. It’s a court-supervised process that begins with naming an Administrator to manage the process. While Probate can sound daunting, it is actually a very methodical process. QP Services assists the Administrator through each step of the Probate process.
Administrator Gains Access to Decedent’s Records to Understand Financial Landscape
- Manages the deceased person’s estate; depending on its complexity, this will take at least several months. If the estate is complex, it can take several years.
- Assesses the value of the estate, identifying the extent of debt and paying creditors.
- Oversees allocation of assets, which may include real estate, securities or other property. If there are outstanding debts, but most of the estate is tied up in real estate, high-value artwork or other collections, they likely will have to be appraised and sold to generate cash to pay creditors.
When all debts have been satisfied and the estate is in a condition to be closed, a petition is prepared and filed with the court to distribute the estate among the deceased person’s heirs.
Once the court has approved the Probate, the Administrator will be able to gain access to all of the decedent’s records to fully understand the financial landscape, including bank statements, savings accounts and income tax returns.
As part of the court-mandated process, Administrators are required to keep careful records of all transactions and valuations. During Probate, the deceased’s estate becomes a separate tax entity, so the Administrator must obtain a federal identification number and open a bank account in the name of the estate, from which to pay creditors. It is also necessary to file the estate’s tax return and a final individual tax return.