Estate Administration is the process of handling a deceased person’s assets and other affairs. This person is typically named in the deceased person’s will. After the court has validated the will, the chosen estate administrator can begin carrying out their duties. When a person dies intestate, or without a will – or without naming an administrator – the probate court will choose an appropriate person among the decedent’s heirs to carry out this duty.
Have you been chosen by a loved one or the court to administer a deceased person’s estate in Virginia? An estate attorney can provide valuable assistance throughout this complex and time-consuming assignment. Here’s how to choose an Estate Attorney near me in Virginia to help with estate administration.
What Are My Duties as an Estate Administrator?
It would be a wise course of action to review the duties of an estate administrator before agreeing to such an appointment. However, a proper understanding of your role is essential to carrying it out according to the law. According to the IRS, the duties of an estate administrator include:
- Collecting all the assets of the deceased
- Paying creditors
- Distributing the remaining assets to heirs or other beneficiaries
Of course, this is a simplified explanation of your duties. You must also establish the value and location of all the deceased’s listed assets, verify all debts, file and pay any outstanding taxes, locate and verify the identity of all beneficiaries and carry out other instructions included in the deceased’s will.
Moreover, these actions must be carried out in the correct order to prevent mistakes or penalties. For example, if you distribute assets to beneficiaries first, then later need to sell assets to cover debts, you have created serious problems for yourself.
How Can an Estate Attorney Help with Estate Administration?
The laws governing the probate process in Virginia are complex and varied. Understanding and following these laws are of prime importance. In addition, many of your duties will require a significant amount of time, such as verifying debts, obtaining a current valuation for assets and determining whether taxes must be filed for the decedent or the estate. Most estate administrators are chosen for their relationship to the deceased and their integrity – not necessarily for their legal knowledge or qualifications.
An experienced Virginia Estate Attorney Near Me can provide invaluable assistance through the entire process. Remember, probate can often stretch over months and even years; how much spare time do you have? An attorney well-versed in these matters can accomplish these tasks on your behalf quickly and efficiently, and help you avoid serious mistakes or omissions in the process.
You will likely need the services of an Estate Attorney for legal aspects of administrating the estate, such as filing to open probate, handling any disputes with creditors or beneficiaries and filing accountings to close the estate once your duties are completed.
What Qualities Should I Require in an Estate Attorney Near Me?
Can any attorney help me administer an estate? Actually, no; attorneys are legal specialists in specific areas of the law, given that the entire industry of law is so complex. Estate Attorneys have the specific knowledge and training for handling estate planning, estate administration, wills, trusts, asset protection and planning for your future.
When choosing an estate attorney near me, you should find someone with these qualities:
- Nearby – your estate attorney near me should be just that – near me: close by, making it easy to connect with them over estate matters.
- Experienced – your estate attorney should possess the experience necessary to handle estate administration, especially for a large or complex estate. A novice attorney may miss things or not possess the hard-won knowledge that can help you administer the estate effectively. Ask for references and results when interviewing an estate attorney.
- Compassionate – your estate attorney needs to be understanding. Most estate administrators are closely related to the deceased, and this process can be an emotional one. Moreover, if disputes arise among the family, your attorney needs to be able to offer sound, reasonable and calm counsel, as well as level-headed negotiation skills.
Promise Law offers a Probate & Estate Administration Workshop for those facing this responsibility. We also offer a complimentary consultation for people starting the probate or administration process. You are under no obligation to retain our services after enjoying the workshop or the consultation.
Call Promise Law today at (757) 866-3730 or contact us online for more information on estate administration, to attend an administration workshop or to speak with us.