Overview of Probate Administration
After an individual’s death, his or her assets will be gathered, business affairs settled, debts paid, necessary tax returns filed, and assets distributed as the deceased individual (generally referred to as the “decedent”) directed.
These activities generally will be conducted on behalf of the decedent by a person acting in a fiduciary capacity, either as executor or as trustee, depending upon how the decedent held his or her property.
As a general rule, the administration of an estate or trust after an individual has died requires the fiduciary to address certain routine issues and follow several standard steps to distribute the decedent’s assets in accordance with his or her wishes. The steps vary depending on whether the decedent has probate or non-probate assets, and whether assets are passing under the terms of a Will, Trust or other beneficiary designation.