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Administration is part of estate planning

Being an administrator of an estate that is in probate can be taxing. It can mean a commitment of six months or several years. Having an attorney to assist while you are going through this can be a huge help. The legal representative will mean that you won't waste time on things that are not necessary. This legal professional can help you make decisions and brief you on what your next steps are.

The administrator needs to conduct a thorough search of all documents and personal papers left behind by the decedent. This will let you know who is a creditor that needs to be paid.

Looking at the decedent's checkbook and bank statements will also give you a clue as to the bills that need to be taken care of.

You need to contact each creditor to ask for a final invoice. Don't forget the hospital that the person was in when he or she passed away. Inheritance taxes must be paid and the medical bills of the estate come off the tax return. They can be substantial so it is important that a search be made for all the bills that are related to medical payments.

Can you begin to see how helpful an attorney can be at this point? While you are grieving the loss of your loved one, he or she can be busy making a list of all those companies that need to be paid.

Administrators have other duties as well. You have to collect and manage assets and make distributions of those assets to those who are inheritors of the estate. Making sure that any charities the decedent wanted to benefit is another job that an administrator needs to fill.

Source: American Bar Association, "Administrator of a Probate Estate: Duties and Responsibilities," Kenneth A. Vercammen, accessed May. 15, 2015

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