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Wills, Estates and Trusts Law – What Do I Need To Know About Estate Administration With And Without A Will?

  • Estate administration, whether they died with or without a will, is a complex and lengthy process.
  • Whether they had a will or they didn’t have a will, if you’re the executor or administrator, you owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of that estate, and must act in their best interest.
  • The first thing that you should do is study the will so you know what you should be doing.
  • Next, you will want to get a list of the assets and liabilities of the decedent.
  • After you have an idea of the assets and liabilities of the estate, you have to get an estate tax identification number for the estate and file a form with the IRS to get this.
  • An estate account or the estate itself has to be open for a minimum of 7 months in order to give creditors the chance to come forward and put a claim against the estate.
  • After this, you actually have to deal with these creditors. If their claims are valid, they will be paid off the top. These can often be negotiated.
  • You can hire, as the executor or administrator, an attorney or accountant; which I recommend because you’re going to need help from professionals who know how to deal with these things.
  • As an executor, you would be compensated for your undertaking by commission on a sliding scale which is set by statute.


This short informational estate planning video was provided by Nicholas Mattia, an experienced Jackson Heights Estate Planning Lawyer.