Probate Lawyer in Washington, D.C.
Estate administration is the process estates must undergo before the decedent’s assets can be distributed to beneficiaries pursuant to the decedent’s will, or if there is no will, pursuant to the laws of intestate succession.
At the helm of estate administration is the executor or administrator, who begins overseeing the estate once they are officially appointed to the role by the court.
As part of administering an estate, the appointed individual has certain responsibilities in administering the estate such as:
- Marshalling all the assets of the estate
- Paying taxes owed by estate
- Filing accounting reports
Marshalling the assets requires the appointed individual to locate, identify, and take possession of all of the decedent’s assets.
The appointed individual should keep complete and accurate records of all transactions and all assets and liability of the decedent from the date of death of the decedent until the appointment of the personal representative has been terminated.
Assets include but are not limited to money in any form (cash, bank accocertificates of deposit), investments (stock, mutual funds, bonds, brokerage accounts), real estate, personal effects (automobiles, paintings, furniture, unclaimed property, and ownership interests in closely held businesses or partnerships.
Not all assets go through probate, some may pass directly to the joint owner or named beneficiary outside the estate proceeding.
The personal representative may need to obtain documentation about these assets for tax purposes, but they are not part of the probate estate. An attorney can advice you regarding whether an asset is a probate asset or a non-probate asset.
The personal representative must file all required tax returns and may be liable for failing to do so and/or for failing to pay taxes from estate assets.
The returns that need to be filed include the decedent’s final federal and District of Columbia income tax returns for the year in which the decedent died (and any missing returns for previous years), federal and/or District Columbia estate tax returns, federal and/or District of Columbia estate income tax returns, and District of Columbia inheritance tax returns.
Many estates in the District of Columbia for decedent’s dying after July 1, 1995, are unsupervised by Court order.
In unsupervised estates, the personal representative must file the original proofs of publication of the Notice of Appointment, Notice to Creditors and Unknown Heirs from the two newspapers and a document titled Verification and Certificate of Notice within ninety days from the date of the appointment of the personal representative.
How can Lopez Law Firm help with your Probate?
Let the Lopez Law Firm help you in the administration of a probate estate.
The process requires attention to various requirements that a person faced with the administration may be overwhelming. Call us at (202) 769-0505.