Estate Administration     

The passing of a loved one is a trying time. While, hopefully, you can envision that person standing with God – free from pain, suffering, and stress – you are also likely feeling loss, sadness, and may not know exactly how to wrap up his or her affairs.

If you have been appointed under a Will or Trust document as executor or trustee, you have fiduciary duties to fulfill. If you are not sure of what steps are required of you, or how to exercise your discretion in making distributions or settling accounts, you should seek assistance to ensure that you are adequately fulfilling those fiduciary duties. The attorneys at WILSON LAW FIRM, PLC can help. Click here for more about Probate Estates – estates of persons who die with a Will.

If your loved one died without a will or trust, the Code of Virginia sets out who may qualify as administrator of the estate. In most cases, that person is the surviving spouse, if there is one, or an adult child or parent. A probate appearance can be scheduled to appoint someone, and if more than one person wants the role, a hearing is held to settle the dispute. Click here for more about Intestate Estates – estates of persons who die without a Will.

 

The Fiduciary Role

Persons named executor, trustee, administrator, or administrator c.t.a., are collectively referred to in Virginia as a personal representative, and a personal representative owes certain duties as a fiduciary. A fiduciary is someone who is entrusted with, and responsible for properly dealing with, someone else’s property. In the estate administration process, the property for which the personal representative is responsible, is property of the deceased person, the beneficiaries under a Will or Trust, the heirs, and/or the creditors of the decedent.

The Code of Virginia imposes a high standard of responsibility and trust upon a fiduciary, and a personal representative can be held personally liable for improper documentation, handling, disbursement, and distribution of estate assets.

If you are involved in the probate or administration process, there will be forms to file and records to be kept. there may be inventories to declare, and accountings to make. Obtaining guidance well in advance of making any distributions or filing any paperwork with the courts can make your estate administration process much smoother. Understanding the timeline for when certain filings need to be made is crucial for any executor or administrator, and meeting those deadlines is part of your sworn duties.

 

Costs of Administration

The Code of Virginia provides for personal representatives to receive a fee (executor fee, or administrator fee) for their services. This fee is usually figured upon a percentage of the total estate value, and is separate from any gift made by the deceased person to the person named as executor under a Will.

There will be filing fees, and perhaps a bond that will need to be posted by the personal representative. These are costs of administration, and are payable by the estate and not the personal representative.

The Code of Virginia also contemplates that the personal representative may need professional assistance in performing its duties. Where the services provided are reasonable and directly related to the administration process, attorney fees and tax preparer fees are generally approved fees of the estate, and not the personal responsibility of the personal representative.

If someone you know dies, WILSON LAW FIRM, PLC can help you with the probate or administration process.

Contact Us now, to discuss any Estate Settlement or Estate Administration questions you may have.

 

 

Wilson Law Firm represents clients throughout the Roanoke and New River Valleys and the surrounding areas, including Roanoke City and Roanoke County, Salem City, Botetourt County, Bedford County, Franklin County, Rocky Mount, Montgomery County, Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Campbell County, Lynchburg, Forest, Craig County, New Castle, Pulaski County, Pittsylvania, Chatham, and Smith Mountain Lake.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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