What do you do first after the death of the person you are a personal representative of?

02/15/2007 - Category:Wills and Estates - Probate - State: IN #715

Full Question:

What do you do first after the death of the person you are a personal representative of?

Answer:

Probate law has to do with the handling of an estate when someone, such as a family member or other loved one, passes away. These are the laws that make sure that the creditors are paid properly and that assets are distributed to the heirs,or the descendants.

What exactly is Probate? Probate is a legal process that begins with apetition (a request) to open the estate and name a personal representative who is responsible for the administration of the deceaseds property. The next step is when an official Notice of Creditors is printed in a local newspaper and Notice of Administration is sent to other involved parties. Creditors then have a set amount of time ( 90 days) to file their claims from the first date of publication. Then the personal representative can pay the debt and distribute the remaining estate. Finally, a petition for discharge is filed, and the estate is closed.

While on one hand, this may sound simple, probate law and the handling of estates is in fact a complex system, which presents you with multiple requirements and tasks to be preformed by the personal representative, an experienced attorney and a tax consultant. For example, an estate including only a single house and single bank account that has been left to a single beneficiary will probably be a far easier and quicker process to deal with than an estate containing multiple houses that are located in various states, and that are left to multiple beneficiaries. This becomes especially difficult if an estate includes leaving assets to a minor.

Other factors that are important to be aware of include the possession of property and the duties of the personal representative. Both of these as well, are crucial to successful probate experiences, and therefore should be taken into account as you begin your involvement with the probate system.Its also a good idea to know all about the surviving spouse's allowances, and the allowance that is provided for the family. This is an important aspect of probate to family members involved. Without this knowledge, the probate process can be difficult and disagreeable to deal with.

Finally, you'll need to know the classifications of properties and appraisers, among others. These are all required to be registered on an inventory list, which will need to conform to Indiana state standards.

It's very important that you know how procedures work in the Indiana probate system. Time limitations are one factor that many people have difficult with, as the State has set many of them. These deadlines must be met, or there are repercussions that will need to be dealt with. People frequently find that with an attorney working for them, they have little to worry about in terms of time restrains and deadlines in the Indiana probate process.

The writing of formal documents is another procedural factor that will prove to be important in the long run. These documents must follow the standards set by Indiana. Some of the documents include specific formats for wills, petitions, notices, waivers and letter of administration, among others.In relation to the possession of property, the personal representative has the right to the real estate of the decedent, which does not include other allowances. He is responsible for paying or collecting rents or debts until the estate is settled and divided up, as is fit in the eyes of the State of Indiana. What's important to remember here is that the personal representative must be certain that all of his or her responsibilities are upheld. For this reason, people often find it invaluable to hire an attorney to handle the process.

The personal representative must also keep all of the buildings of the estate in good shape so that they are inhabitable for whoever may live there. This means that the personal representative is in a sense, assuming the role of landlord. For many people this sudden responsibility can be overwhelming when trying to handle matters on their own.

The surviving spouse of a decedent is allowed a certain amount of money at the time of death of the decedent, which is meant to cover the cost of living and upkeep of a household until the estate may be probated and divided up among the appropriate recipients. This is important so that the surviving spouse does not have to worry about how to pay the basic costs of living at such a difficult time.

The children of the decedent are also entitled to a certain amount of money while the estate is being probated. This amount depends on whether or not the child was living with the spouse of the decedent at the time of his or her death. Though, as in the case with the spouse, the child of a decedent receives an allowance until the estate is probated and divided up among those listed in the will and those that the State sees fit. Again, an attorney can help to make this process much less confusing and handled more smoothly.

It is the responsibility of the personal representative to classify properties and carry out appraisals of the decedent's estate. It is necessary to create a formal, legal inventory, in accordance with that defined in the Statues by the state of Indiana. The appraisal of the estate and assets must take place within two months of the appointment.

The personal representative is allowed to hire appraisers to assess various parts of the decedent's estate and assets. The appraisers' signatures should be on the inventory list, and must be clear which items on the list they appraised. Other personal contact information will also be required in this inventory list, as Indiana has set forth in their state Statutes for probate processes and proceedings.



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02/15/2007 - Category: Probate - State: IN #715

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