There’s a lot of uncertainty that comes with the death of a loved one. In particular, how do you manage their estate: close bank accounts; transfer vehicles, houses and other property; pay their bills; and otherwise settle any outstanding debts? This is where a probate action may need to be filed in District Court in order for someone to be appointed to handle the affairs of the estate of the deceased.
During an initial meeting, one of our attorneys will review the Last Will and other estate documents, including whatever assets the decedent might have had, such as investment accounts, life insurance policies, and real property.
Our attorneys can then advise you as to your responsibilities and whether or not a probate action may need to be filed.
Probate/Dispense with Administration
A probate or a dispense with administration is a court action in which a person is appointed as executor (or an executrix, if female), in cases where there is a Last Will, or is appointed as an administrator (or administratrix, if female), in those cases in which there is no Last Will.
Once appointed an executor or administrator has authority to handle the decedent’s estate, which includes the authority to pay bills, close accounts, and sell or transfer vehicles and real property.
An executor or administrator is appointed as a fiduciary, which means that they have a legal responsibility to the court to ensure that the estate is handled correctly, which includes the fulfillment of any bequests in the Last Will. The executor or administrator is responsible for keeping good financial records, as they will have to give an account of the estate to the Judge.
While all of this may sound complicated, our attorneys and staff are here to assist you every step of the way and answer any questions you may have about the process.
Estate Taxes and Inheritance Taxes
We can also help you prepare all the required tax returns for the estate, including for state inheritance taxes.
Just as with your regular personal income taxes, it is important to timely file all required tax returns with the IRS and state agencies. Failure to do so can mean unnecessary penalties, fines, and interest.