Monday, August 4, 2014

Estate Administration Part 2: So you’re the Administrator of an Estate—now what?


You have received Letters of Administration from the Court…
You submitted all the required paperwork to the Surrogate’s Court and have been officially appointed Administrator of your loved one’s Estate. This is a great honor, but also carries a great deal of responsibility. To help you understand your responsibilities and to help you administer the Estate, we have prepared this memo.


…but how do you administer an Estate?
In our next blog post, we include a list of responsibilities commonly involved in the administration of an Estate. In general, you must accumulate and protect assets, pay all bills, file and pay taxes, handle matters as they occur, and distribute assets to beneficiaries. Naturally, the responsibilities will vary from one Estate to another, but the full list linked above is fairly standard.  Remember that you have a right to—and should—hire professionals to help you, including, but not limited to, an attorney accountants, investment advisors, real estate brokers, cleaning services, and appraisers. These professional fees are paid from the Estate.

We can help.
You can hire us to help with many of these responsibilities and make your job easier. Note that, even with an attorney’s assistance, your work and responsibility can be overwhelming at times. If you ever feel confused or overburdened by your responsibilities as Administrator, contact us. We can offer suggestions to lighten your load.

You are entitled to a commission for your services.
As Administrator, you are entitled to have your expenses reimbursed and to receive an Administrator’s Commission as set forth by statute.  Bear in mind that any commission received is taxable income. As such, you may be better off waiving the commission, but you should nonetheless keep track of all your expenses. This is fact sensitive, so don’t make any promises and wait until the closing of the Estate to decide how much of your Commission you will take.