There’s a lot involved with handling end-of-life financials, and the Estate Adminsitors are at the center of it. Read on for more information about what is an administrator of an estate, what they do, and what their role is within the probate process.

What is an Administrator of an Estate

The Administrator of an Estate is the person responsible for administering the estate as it goes through the probate process. Assigning the Estate Administrator is one of the first decisions made during probate.

How Does Administration of an Estate Work?

If the deceased does not have a valid will, the next of kin will be appointed as the Administrator of the Estate by the court. Once appointed, the Estate Administrator becomes the representative of the estate, handling all the needed tasks with closing accounts and distributing assets. The Estate Administrator is responsible for settling the financial end-of-life needs after someone dies.

Who Can Act as an Administrator of an Estate?

If the deceased has a will, the executor of the will fulfills the role of Estate Administrator. If the deceased does not have a will or the will is not validated by the court, the next of kin will become the Estate Administrator.

What Does an Administrator of an Estate Do?

Estate Administrators handle any and all needs of closing accounts, paying creditors, and distributing assets of a deceased’s estate.

Common Administrator of Estate Duties

The main responsibilities of an Estate Administrator include the following tasks:

  • Pay creditors of the deceased
  • File needed forms and documents with the court
  • Manage the deceased’s assets during probate
  • Gather an accounting of the estate’s assets
  • Fill and collect life insurance policies
  • Close accounts
  • File taxes and handle tax returns
  • Communicate with beneficiaries
  • Distribute remaining assets to heirs or beneficiaries

Probate Court

Probate court is the legal proceeding associated with handling financial matters after a person dies. They oversee that proper documentation is filed, outstanding debts and creditors are paid, and assets are dispersed to beneficiaries.

The Estate Administrator is responsible for moving the probate process along. They must file the appropriate documents and follow the legal steps needed to close accounts and distribute the estate.

Filing and Tax Returns

The Estate Administrator is also responsible for filing both federal and state taxes for the estate. They will file income taxes for the deceased person and handle any other tax matters. This could include paying estate taxes or collecting the deceased’s income tax returns.

Pay Creditors

One of the most important jobs of an Estate Administrator is paying the outstanding debts of the deceased. Any bills, credit card payments, mortgages, or other payments will need to be handled. The Administrator should make these payments from the estate assets.

Part of paying creditors means that the Estate Administrator will need to make an effort to locate them. You will need to issue a notice to all debtors and creditors about the deceased’s passing to inform them of their ability to collect any payments.

Manage the Estate

There are lots of miscellaneous tasks that need to be handled to manage an estate. The Administrator will need to keep an accounting record of each asset and keep up to date with their management.

The specific tasks will differ depending on what types of assets are part of the estate. Managing the estate could include managing retail properly or stock accounts.

Pay Beneficiaries

The final steps of an Estate Administrator are to pay out the remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries and close the accounts. If there is a will, the beneficiaries will be listed in the document with instructions for how to distribute the assets accordingly to each beneficiary.

If there is not a will, the heirs will be determined according to the law. This could mean the deceased’s dependents, parents, or siblings. The beneficiaries of the estate will depend on the state laws and the remaining living family members.

What is the Difference Between an Administrator and an Executor?

Regardless of if an estate has an executor or an Administrator, the same tasks will need to be completed. Both of these roles have similar responsibilities; they serve as the personal representative of the estate. The main difference between these two roles is how they are appointed. The executor is appointed by the deceased through their estate plan.

The author of the will can choose anyone to serve as executor to their estate, as long as their will is validated as having been written in sound mind.

The Estate Administrator on the other hand is the legal next of kin. A surviving spouse or the closest living relative is appointed by the court to fill this position.

Learn More About the Administration of an Estate

If you have more questions about the Administration of an Estate, feel free to give us a call at 800-874-3528. We have representatives on hand 24/7 to help you navigate the probate process.