While some estates may be somewhat easy and straight-forward to settle, others might be more complicated. Estates that are forced to go through the probate process are often more difficult to handle, and require the assistance of an estate administrator. Some people appoint an estate administrator in their last will and testament; however, an administrator may be appointed by the court if one is not named. It is important to understand what the administrator does in the probate process so the right person may be selected for the job.
Estate administrators are responsible for obtaining the death certificate. They must then gather the property and assets involved in the estate. He or she must safeguard the property from vandalism or theft during the probate process. The estate is then evaluated, appraised and given a value. Any expenses still owed by the estate, such as taxes, are paid out of this value. The executor may be responsible for preparing and filing the final tax returns. If there are any taxes owed, the amount can be paid out of the estate’s value. If a refund is granted, however, the money will get added to the estate and then distributed to beneficiaries.
Once all creditors are paid and all other matters are finalized, the remaining property and assets are distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will. In some cases, the executor may have to locate the beneficiaries to let them know of the matter at hand. The role of an administrator can be time consuming and takes a detail-oriented and efficient person to complete all of the responsibilities.