At Barash-Schatten Law Firm, we represent personal representatives in administering estates.
What is entailed in administering an estate? Is it easier to administer an estate if there exists a Last Will and Testament?
If a Last Will and Testament exists, then there is not usually a fight to become the Personal Representative. However, a Will can always be contested by family members. The mail needs to be transferred to either the estate attorney or the Personal Representative’s address.
First, a certified copy of a death certificate needs to be obtained.
Second, assets need to be marshalled or gathered and decide what assets the estate consists of. It is important to look at the last three years of tax returns. Is there a pension from work that the decedent was receiving or an annuity?
The creditors need to be paid if there are any.
There is a hierarchy of creditors if there is not enough money in the estate.
Please find below the hierarchy of creditors:
The personal representative has the duty to pay the decedent’s administrative expenses and obligations to creditors that have filed creditor claims, including compensating the Personal Representative and the fees for the estate attorney. The expense of the estate attorney is approximately 3% of the net estate.
Reasonable funeral, internment, and grave expenses up to $6,000
Debts and taxes with preference under federal law, including estate taxes and recovery of Medicaid and other public assistance programs
Reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of last 60 days of the decedent’s last illness.
Family Allowance (currently maximum of $18,000 for payment of support of surviving spouse and decedents during the Florida estate administration)
Court ordered child support arrearage.
Debts acquired after death by continuing decedent’s business.
All other claims, including any judgments against the decedent and any excess on Class 2 and Class 4 items.