Testate Estate Administration | Intestate Estate Administration
As a probate and estate administration attorney, I help families who are coping with the loss of a loved one move through the legal process of transferring ownership of property following death. This process is generally referred to as estate administration. With an understanding of the turmoil and disruption that can be caused by the loss, I do so as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Testate Estate Administration (Administration According to a Last Will and Testament)
For a testate estate, an executor named in the Last Will and Testament will be responsible for administering the estate through probate. The executor is responsible for gathering the assets of the estate, protecting the assets of the estate for the benefit of creditors and heirs, satisfying any claims from creditors, and distributing the remaining assets to the heirs according to the instructions in the Last Will and Testament. Typically, the decedent’s Last Will and Testament will remove the requirement for the executor to file an inventory or post a surety bond. Depending on the terms of the Last Will and Testament, the executor may have wide latitude to carry out acts necessary for administration of the estate without oversight from the probate court.
When the deceased does not leave a Last Will and Testament, the estate is referred to as an intestate estate. An intestate estate is carried out by an administrator. The administrator is selected according to a priority set out in the Alabama statutes. The administrator of the estate has responsibilities similar to the executor of a testate estate: to gather the assets of the estate, protect the assets of the estate for the benefit of creditors and heirs, satisfy any claims from creditors, and distribute the remaining assets to the heirs. However, since there is not a Last Will and Testament to set out the heirs or the estate, the heirs of the estate are dictated categorically according to a procedure set out in the Alabama statutes. The administrator will typically be required to furnish a bond “conditioned upon faithful discharge of all duties of the trust according to law” and also submit an inventory of the estate. An intestate estate administration is generally subject to much more oversight from the probate court than the administration of a testate estate. The administrator will be required to petition the court for permission to sell real or personal property and carry out other acts on behalf of the estate.