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What’s the difference between estate and probate administration?

On Behalf of | Sep 26, 2023 | Estate Planning

Regarding legal matters, two terms often used interchangeably but possessing distinct differences are estate administration and probate administration. Understanding these differences is crucial, especially if you are currently navigating the aftermath of a loved one’s passing.

Comprehending the nuances of estate and probate administration can empower you to make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary legal complications.

What’s estate administration?

Estate administration encompasses the management and distribution of a person’s assets after their death. The process is typically made possible with a well-structured estate plan in place. An estate can encompass real estate, bank accounts, investments and personal belongings.

In estate administration, the deceased individual usually designates an executor in their will prior to their death. The executor’s principal responsibility is to carry out the deceased’s wishes as outlined in the will. This may involve paying off debts, distributing assets to beneficiaries and meeting all other legal requirements.

One critical aspect of estate administration is distinguishing between probate and non-probate assets. Probate assets are subject to court supervision and must go through the probate process, while non-probate assets can be transferred directly to beneficiaries without court intervention.

Probate administration

Conversely, probate administration is a subset of estate administration. It specifically deals with the legal process of validating a will and settling the deceased person’s financial affairs.

The process begins with validating the deceased person’s will by confirming its authenticity and ensuring it meets all legal requirements. If there is no will or it is deemed invalid, the estate is distributed according to state laws, known as intestate succession.

Understanding the distinctions between estate and probate administration is vital for anyone involved in managing a deceased person’s affairs. Remember to enlist legal counsel so you don’t have to navigate these legal complexities alone.