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Estate administration follows the legal rules of probate

After all is said and done in the way of estate planning, and with necessary modifications along the way, the day will come when the loved one's decedent estate will have to be administered. If a proper will was made during the planning process, the first official step of estate administration in Texas and other states will be to file the will at the probate court. At that time, the person named in the will as the personal representative will present the will to the probate clerk and take the oath of office.

This is usually done with the attorney for the estate also present to assist and guide the personal representative through the opening steps of the estate administration process. Letters of administration are issued after the will is probated. The personal representative may then take that certificate proving his or her authority and open an estate checking account to deposit funds and pay bills.

All assets must be cashed in, inventoried and valued. With funds in investment or bank accounts, the valuation will be easy. For personal property and real estate, appraisers are often hired by the estate to provide a written appraisal. In some cases, where there is a large volume of personal property that the beneficiaries do not want, it will be sold by an auctioneer and the funds deposited in the estate account.

The attorney and personal representative will work together to identify, collect and deposit all money owed to the estate, and to pay all bills, as required by Texas probate law. At the end of the estate administration process, a final accounting and statement will be prepared, and usually a set of forms is filled out for the probate court. The income, expenses, bills paid, and taxes paid or to be paid are listed. These final documents also state the bottom line distribution to each beneficiary after deduction of all of the expenses and bills. They will each sign a release of all further claims against the estate, and they will agree to reimburse the estate if any legitimate bills surface after the estate is closed.

Source: myrtlebeachonline.com, "Local news from The Sun News in Myrtle Beach SC", Gary Newman, March 7, 2015

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