Selecting Estate Agents to Reconcile Probate Estates
Estate agents are a vital part of reconciling probate estates.
These individuals are appointed in a last will and testament and
responsible for a myriad of duties. If a decedent did not write
a Will, agents are confirmed through probate court.
For legal reasons, estate agents must be at least 18 and never
convicted of a felony crime. When deciding upon agents it's best
to select a person that can conduct accurate accounting and
comply with required deadlines for filing documents. Agents
ought to be good with time management and capable of carrying
out tasks under stress.
Selecting a personal representative requires careful
consideration. For many, a reasonable selection is a spouse or
relative. Others favor hiring an attorney or designating a
lifelong friend. Regardless of who is chosen, it's a good idea
to talk to them about the decision before including their name
in the Will.
Furthermore, it can be advantageous to designate two estate
agents. This supplies a backup plan if the primary agent is
unable to carry out the necessary tasks. By appointing a
secondary agent the probate process can continue uninterrupted
because there is no need to have a new agent confirmed through
When relatives don't get along well, it can be beneficial to
appoint a neutral person, such as a probate attorney or estate
planner, to reconcile the estate. Unfortunately, it's
commonplace for family disputes over inheritance to result in
heirs contesting the Will.
When probate litigation is involved, the reconciliation process
can be prolonged for months. Contesting a Will can be lethal for
small estates and often forces agents to sell inheritance
property to cover the cost of legal expenses. Anyone concerned
that inheritance wars will break out should talk to a lawyer
about protecting their estate.
Not all estates have to pass through probate. Property that is
placed into trusts is exempt, as are small estates that meet
state guidelines. Although values differ by state, exempt
estates usually range between $25,000 and $50,000.
For small estates to receive probate exemption the decedent has
to execute a last will and testament prior to death. The Will is
recorded through the probate office and once validated estate
assets can be transferred to beneficiaries.
When decedents do not write a Will before passing away, the
estate has to go through the probate process in accordance to
state law. An estate agent is granted authority through the
court and inheritance property is given to the surviving spouse
or direct lineage relatives.
The types of duties estate agents conduct differ according to
the factors associated with the estate. At the very least,
agents are responsible for establishing an estate checking
account; performing accounting duties; taking inventory of all
property owned by the decedent; notifying government agencies
and creditors of the death; settling outstanding debts; filling
a final personal tax return; and distributing property to
Financial compensation is provided to estate agents for their
duties. The amount can be established in the last Will or in
accordance to probate laws. Fees are usually paid as a flat fee,
hourly wage, or percentage of estate value.