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Probate Estates

Selecting Estate Agents to Reconcile Probate Estates

Estate agents are a vital part of reconciling probate estates. These individuals are appointed in a last will and testament and responsible for a myriad of duties. If a decedent did not write a Will, agents are confirmed through probate court.

For legal reasons, estate agents must be at least 18 and never convicted of a felony crime. When deciding upon agents it's best to select a person that can conduct accurate accounting and comply with required deadlines for filing documents. Agents ought to be good with time management and capable of carrying out tasks under stress.

Selecting a personal representative requires careful consideration. For many, a reasonable selection is a spouse or relative. Others favor hiring an attorney or designating a lifelong friend. Regardless of who is chosen, it's a good idea to talk to them about the decision before including their name in the Will.

Furthermore, it can be advantageous to designate two estate agents. This supplies a backup plan if the primary agent is unable to carry out the necessary tasks. By appointing a secondary agent the probate process can continue uninterrupted because there is no need to have a new agent confirmed through court proceedings.

When relatives don't get along well, it can be beneficial to appoint a neutral person, such as a probate attorney or estate planner, to reconcile the estate. Unfortunately, it's commonplace for family disputes over inheritance to result in heirs contesting the Will.

When probate litigation is involved, the reconciliation process can be prolonged for months. Contesting a Will can be lethal for small estates and often forces agents to sell inheritance property to cover the cost of legal expenses. Anyone concerned that inheritance wars will break out should talk to a lawyer about protecting their estate.

Not all estates have to pass through probate. Property that is placed into trusts is exempt, as are small estates that meet state guidelines. Although values differ by state, exempt estates usually range between $25,000 and $50,000.

For small estates to receive probate exemption the decedent has to execute a last will and testament prior to death. The Will is recorded through the probate office and once validated estate assets can be transferred to beneficiaries.

When decedents do not write a Will before passing away, the estate has to go through the probate process in accordance to state law. An estate agent is granted authority through the court and inheritance property is given to the surviving spouse or direct lineage relatives.

The types of duties estate agents conduct differ according to the factors associated with the estate. At the very least, agents are responsible for establishing an estate checking account; performing accounting duties; taking inventory of all property owned by the decedent; notifying government agencies and creditors of the death; settling outstanding debts; filling a final personal tax return; and distributing property to beneficiaries.

Financial compensation is provided to estate agents for their duties. The amount can be established in the last Will or in accordance to probate laws. Fees are usually paid as a flat fee, hourly wage, or percentage of estate value.