When you accepted the task of serving as executor to your loved one’s estate, you may not have fully understood the breadth of the process you would undertake. Now that your loved one has passed away, you may be searching for answers to your questions regarding probate administration here in Palm Beach. Below is a brief synopsis of the progression of this process.
The first phase of probate is formally opening your loved one’s estate. During this time, the initial documentation gets filed with the court so that you may be formally recognized as the executor by the court. At this time, you will need to publish a notice to all of the decedent’s creditors. This step needs to be taken early on in the process since creditors have a 90-day window in which to file claims against the estate.
The second phase of probate is where the bulk of the administration tasks occur. You will need to locate, gather and inventory all of the decedent’s property. The court will need a formal inventory of the estate to know what is available to pay creditors and for distribution to heirs and beneficiaries. It may be necessary to sell some of the estate’s assets in order to settle its debts.
The third phase of probate involves wrapping up the estate. You will need to file any necessary waivers, tax returns and the formal accounting. This is also when any remaining assets are distributed and the court releases you from your duties as executor.
The above may make the process seem simple, but in many cases, even a smooth process requires some understanding of the applicable laws and experience with the process. Fortunately, the law does not require you to carry out formal probate administration alone. You may enlist the advice and assistance of a Palm Beach attorney to help you administer the estate in the most efficient and timely manner possible.