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Administering an Estate

If you serve as an executor, administrator or other fiduciary, you have numerous legal duties and will be acting in a fiduciary capacity. Fortunately, you are entitled, normally at the expense of the estate, to retain an attorney to guide you through the necessary steps, which will vary depending upon the assets and the heirs.

We assist you throughout the process, from beginning to end, or starting at any point along the way. We assist in performing the estate administration, including for example, the following typical tasks:

  • Locate and obtain the original, if available, or copy of the decedent’s latest Will and other testamentary or otherwise relevant documents.
  • Read the Will and other applicable documents to understand the provisions and bequests.
  • File a petition with the court to admit the Will to probate.
  • Identify the decedent’s assets.
  • Locate and give formal notification to heirs and/or beneficiaries.
  • File necessary court documents relating to notification of heirs/beneficiaries.
  • If the decedent had a safe deposit box, arrange for a meeting with the Department of Revenue to open the box and make follow-up arrangements to dispose of contents.
  • Consult with banks and savings and loans in the area to find all accounts of the deceased. Also check for cash and other valuables that may be hidden around the home.
  • Transfer, as necessary, securities to the estate’s name and continue to collect dividends and interest on behalf of the beneficiaries of the deceased.
  • If needed, obtain a Federal Tax ID number for the estate.
  • Locate and secure all real estate deeds, mortgages, leases, and tax information.
  • Provide immediate management for rental properties.
  • Arrange ancillary administration for out-of-state property.
  • Collect money owed the deceased.
  • Locate, inventory and secure personal and real property.
  • Collect life insurance proceeds due and payable.
  • Find and safeguard all business interests, vacation homes, and other properties.
    • Arrange for appraisal for valuables as necessary.
    • Determine liquidity needs. Assemble bookkeeping records. Review investment portfolio. Sell appropriate assets.
  • Pay valid claims against the estate. Reject improper claims and defend the estate, if necessary.
    • File income tax returns for the decedent.
    • Determine whether the estate must file federal tax returns; if so, arrange for timely preparation and filing.
    • Prepare and file state death and/or inheritance tax return.
    • Prepare statement of all receipts and disbursements. Pay attorneys’ fees and executor’s fees.
    • Allocate specific bequests and the remaining assets.
    • File court documents necessary to close estate administration.