Estate Administration

What is estate administration?

what is estate administration

Estate administration is the process of collecting, distributing, managing the deceased person assets, and settling his debts

California sets up the process for distributing the assets and paying off the debts of a deceased person. Regardless of whether you have a will or trust, there are requirements for distributing assets and settling debts. Listed below are some common topics you should know about estate administration law.

The first step in estate administration is to contact a qualified attorney. A proper type of attorney you will be looking for is an estate planning and probate attorney.

Estate is the properties left after the person dies. Generally, in order to inherit or transfer  property after someone dies, the relatives of the deceased should  go to court

At the beginning of the process, your attorney needs to find what assets a deceased person has, how the asset is titled, what debts the deceased has.

Estate administration – is there a trust or a will in place?

estate administration estate administration Estate Administration 6087a08cc6874de1aba65ce6ec51d588 2015206192 300x300At the first step of your estate administration, it is important to know if there is a trust or a will in place. If the deceased had a trust, your attorney would proceed with the trust administration process. If the deceased left the will, the properties will be distributed according to the will. Otherwise, the estate will be distributed according to the law of intestacy. The surviving spouse and children are the first into consideration and then move on to more distant relatives.

The next step is to ask if probate is necessary.  As of January 1, 2020, if the deceased estate consists of assets in excess of $166,250 a probate might be necessary. You definitely don’t need probate if you have a trust and the trust is properly funded -all the properties in the trust.

The next thing is to find out who is representative of the estate. If the person left a will, the representative – the executor named in the will.

Estate administration – a simplified procedure available

If you have a relatively small estate, consider using the California Small Estates Procedure, there’s a simplified procedure available.

When you consider estate administration, it is important to keep in mind that there are some types of property that pass outside of the will and the probate process. For example,  the property that’s titled as joint tenancy with right of survivorship, retirement plans, life insurance, and assets that have beneficiaries passing according to forms the person filed with a plan administrator.

Estate administration in California is a legal process that involves handling a deceased person’s assets, debts, and distributing their estate according to the applicable laws. Here is a more detailed explanation of estate administration under California law:

  1. Contacting an Attorney: The first step in the estate administration process is to contact a qualified attorney who specializes in estate planning and probate. They will guide you through the legal procedures and requirements.
  2. Determining the Existence of a Will or Trust: It is crucial to determine whether the deceased person had a will or trust in place. If there is a trust, the attorney will proceed with trust administration. If there is a will, the estate will be distributed according to the terms of the will. If there is neither, California’s laws of intestacy will dictate how the estate is distributed, starting with surviving spouses and children.
  3. Assessing the Need for Probate: As of January 1, 2020, in California, if the total value of the deceased person’s estate exceeds $166,250, probate proceedings may be necessary. However, if the deceased had a properly funded trust containing all their assets, probate can typically be avoided.
  4. Identifying the Estate’s Representative: If a will exists, the executor named in the will becomes the representative of the estate. If there is no will, the court will appoint an administrator. This individual is responsible for managing the estate during the administration process.
  5. Consider the California Small Estates Procedure: If the estate is relatively small, California offers a simplified procedure known as the California Small Estates Procedure. This streamlined process may save time and resources.
  6. Assets That Avoid Probate: It’s essential to understand that some types of property pass outside of the probate process and do not go through estate administration. These include assets held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship, retirement plans, life insurance policies, and assets with designated beneficiaries, such as those specified in forms filed with plan administrators.
  7. Debts and Liabilities: Part of estate administration involves identifying and settling the deceased person’s debts and liabilities. This may include outstanding bills, taxes, and other financial obligations.
  8. Asset Valuation and Distribution: The estate’s assets need to be accurately valued, and then they can be distributed according to the terms of the will, trust, or intestate succession laws. This process should be carried out meticulously to ensure that each beneficiary receives their rightful share.
  9. Accounting and Reporting: The estate’s representative is typically required to provide an accounting of the estate’s assets, income, and expenses to the court and beneficiaries during the administration process.

Estate administration in California can be a complex legal process, and having the guidance of an experienced attorney is crucial to ensure that the deceased person’s wishes are carried out correctly and that all legal requirements are met. If you need assistance with estate administration in California, it is advisable to consult with a qualified attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation.



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