Estate Administration

‚ÄčEstate administration, commonly called probate, is when the court appoints a person or entity to administer the assets and property of someone upon their death.  The procedures in an estate administration may take from six months to several years, depending on the complexity of the estate.  This can be exhausting to go through as a beneficiary, but it is best to be realistic about the time frame.  Some of the initial tasks to be completed by estate administrators include:


  • conducting a thorough search of the decedent's personal papers and effects for potential creditors
  • examining the decedent's financial records for recurring payments, which may indicate existing debts 
  • contacting the issuers of each credit card that the decedent had in his or her possession
  • gather all of the assets and inventory them


Once all of the material is gathered, and the estate administrator knows what they are dealing with, they must then accomplish the following actions:


  • probate the will (if a will was created)
  • pay the outstanding debts
  • manage the estate
  • take care of all tax matters
  • distribute the assets


At some point in time, you may be asked to serve as the administrator of the estate of a relative or friend, or you may ask someone to serve as your administrator.  The complex blended family structure resulting from rising rates of divorce and remarriage can make estate administration difficult and fraught with unwanted conflict.  Commencement Bay Guardianship Services (CBGS) and staff have a solid reputation for being able to resolve complicated estates, including those with disputes among the heirs, misconduct or breach of fiduciary duty by a previous personal representative, funding and administration of testamentary trusts, and contested wills. Having an independent third party like CBGS act as your estate administrator can help avoid internal family conflict during an already difficult time of loss.

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