After your loved one dies and the funeral is over, that is when the real fight starts—the legal battle to ensure that the deceased estate is properly distributed, either according to the wishes of the dead relative, mapped out in Wills, Trusts, or Testament or through a court-appointed administrator.
In many places in the US, when a person dies, terms like Probate, Trust, Will, and estate administration are easily thrown around. But how well do people understand these terms? What is probate? What is estate administration? What’s really the difference between probate and estate administration?
What Is Probate?
Probate is simply the transfer of assets and debts. It is a legal process where the deceased’s assets are distributed according to the deceased instructions found in the Will. Usually, probate starts just after the death and funeral of the testator (owner of the Will).
The purpose of Will is to give instructions on how you wish your estate to be distributed when you’re no longer around. But if you should die without a Will or your Will is proved invalid, then the Probate court will distribute your estate in line with the state’s law.
Many assets are eligible for probates. They are also some assets that the probate can’t touch—it all depends on the probate law that applies in your state or region. Be sure to check out the probate laws in your state before going ahead with any estate planning. You might want to consult with a Ancillary probate attorney.
What Is Estate Administration?
An estate is what is left in your name or possession at the time of your death. Estate administration and estate planning are some of the things you should take seriously while you’re still alive. Estate Administration is the process whereby you name an individual that will handle the distribution of your estate and clearing of any outstanding debts on your behalf.
Who’s An Estate Administrator?
An estate administrator is a certified fiduciary appointed by the probate court to handle everything pertaining to gathering and distributing the estate of a deceased person without a Will or with an invalid Will. An estate administrator works to ensure that no deceased estate should go unclaimed.
It is very pertinent that you make plans for your estate administrator while you’re still alive. Your chosen estate administrator will ensure that your estate is properly distributed according to the directives from your Will or Living Trust.
However, if you should die without a Will (intestate), the probate court will appoint an executor to oversee and administer your estate—someone you might not know or even trust if you were alive. To avoid making such mistakes, always speak with your Probate, Trusts, & Estate lawyer to help prepare for the big journey ahead.
What Is The Difference Between Probate And Estate Administration?
The major difference between Probate and Estate Administration is their timing and process.
While with a Probate, it is basically the process of admitting the validity of the Will or making your Will official. It takes place after your death and funeral.
Estate Planning & Estate Administration can happen either when you’re dead or alive. When you’re still alive, estate planning is the whole process of drawing up financial plans, including a Will, and naming an administrator to manage your estate either when you’re dead or incapacitated. Estate administration happens when you’re dead. Should you die without a Will, the court will appoint an estate administrator to take charge of the distribution of your estate.
Probate and Estate administration is summed up as—if there’s a Will, the process of distributing the estates (probate) will be much easier as there’s already a named estate administrator (executor). But if the Will is invalid or no Will (intestate), the court (probate court) will appoint an estate administrator or executor.