Having an established estate plan is extremely important for Kentucky residents. However, sometimes a family member or loved one passes away without a will, and their estate must go through the probate process.
This involves appointing an administrator to handle the financial aspects of the estate. An administrator is also sometimes called a personal representative.
The role of an administrator
As an administrator, you have many responsibilities. The law states that you must act in the highest good faith to the estate’s heirs and creditors.
Your duties include identifying and valuing all the estate’s assets, ensuring all debts are paid and distributing the assets according to Kentucky probate laws. You can do this on your own, or with the help and guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Once you have accomplished these tasks, you must settle the estate. You do this by filing a final settlement with the court. This cannot be filed until at least 6 months have passed since you were appointed as the administrator.
A settlement can be informal or formal. Although it is called informal, an informal settlement still requires the filing of several documents.
In an informal settlement, each heir must file a signed affidavit stating that they received their share of the estate and waive a formal settlement. You must provide proof that you complied with any specific bequests of the deceased, although if there was no will, you may not be able to do this.
A formal settlement requires you to provide a detailed accounting of all estate distributions. You must provide receipts, cancelled checks or other documentation proving each distribution.
You are paid for your duties as an administrator. Your formal accounting must include the amount that you were paid, as well as that of your attorney, and what you are basing the amounts on.
Being an administrator involves many different steps. Although you hope the probate process will go smoothly, sometimes disagreements arise, resulting in probate litigation. It helps to have experienced guidance every step of the way.