People tend to accumulate possessions and money throughout their lives. When they are gone from this world, something must happen with those items and assets – they cannot sit idly around. A probate administrator is someone who has been appointed by the courts to make sure everything in a deceased person’s estate is settled. For example, if Aunt Betty passes away and has not identified a specific person to act as the executor of her will (or if she has no will at all), the probate courts will appoint a professional fiduciary or someone close to Aunt Betty to handle these duties. This may be one of her siblings, parents, children, nieces, nephews, cousins – whoever is a logical choice to help settle the estate.
The probate administrator will become well acquainted with Aunt Betty’s affairs. That person will:
- Gather her mail
- Pay her bills using money from the estate (mortgage payments, car payments, electric bills, credit card bills)
- Take care of Aunt Betty’s home
- Make an inventory of all of Aunt Betty’s possessions and get them appraised if necessary
- File her final income tax return and her estate’s income tax returns
- Make sure all of Aunt Betty’s possessions are distributed to the appropriate people (heirs, beneficiaries)
Throughout this process, the courts will want the probate administrator to keep record of all actions taken on behalf of Aunt Betty. This is not only to protect her assets but also to protect the probate administrator from being accused of any wrongdoing. Therefore, the probate administrator will have to be extremely organized.
A great deal of trust will be placed in the probate administrator. This person will have direct access to bank accounts, valuable possessions, sentimental items, etc. Therefore, the probate administrator must have good moral values and integrity.
Communication among all parties will be crucial – with the courts and the beneficiaries, creditors and other government organizations. Therefore, the probate administrator must have the time and energy to keep the lines of communication flowing freely.
The individuals with priority for appointment as a probate administrator by the courts are not legally required to accept the role. It is possible to sign a waiver to relinquish the duties to someone else who may be more qualified or interested in taking on this huge responsibility.
If you have been chosen as a probate administrator in Denver and are uncertain about your role, contact the Denver estate planning lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC. We can help you understand your responsibilities and outline a strategy for making the process as streamlined and quick as possible. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.