The first step is to file an initial petition to be appointed as administrator. When going through the regular probate process, when a petition for probate is filed, there is another hierarchy of who is the administrator of the estate, the spouse taking first priority in this example. Once you are appointed as the administrator, then you have the power and the ability to work within the probate court.
Your role as the administrator or personal representative involves:
- Collecting all of the assets in the estate.
- Informing creditors and making sure that there is publication in a newspaper.
- Checking for any outstanding taxes, or Medi-Cal liabilities, et cetera.
- Paying all of the remaining debts.
Once you have done all of that, you will have the opportunity to do a distribution. The court must give permission before any of the assets are distributed. In order to obtain permission, you request that the court set a hearing, then you disclose the allocation based on what is left in the estate and propose the distribution plan. Once you get a court’s permission to distribute, you can go ahead and write checks to the beneficiaries, and also a check to yourself for your administrator fee and to your attorney for legal fees. The final step is to submit to the court, with your receipts, a request to be released from your role as personal representative.
Dying without a will can create a complex process for your loved ones and the court. If you are thinking about getting a will, check out our blog about why to get a will, and how to start the process.
If you are ready to start the process, please contact us. At Mayer & Young, PC we are dedicated to helping our clients through the will process and to create a healthy and happy future.