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The responsibilities of a probate and estate administrator

In the state of New York, an estate administrator is responsible for managing the assets and affairs of a deceased person. If a person dies without a will, or if they does not name an executor, the court will appoint an administrator to oversee the probate and estate administration process. Understanding the general responsibilities of an estate administrator is crucial for anyone in this role.

Step 1: Gather and take inventory of assets

One of an estate administrator’s first responsibilities is gathering and taking inventory of the deceased person’s assets. The task includes locating and identifying all financial accounts, real estate, personal property and other assets. The administrator must also determine the value of these assets and create an inventory list.

Step 2: Pay debts and expenses

The administrator is also responsible for paying the deceased person’s outstanding debts and expenses, such as medical and funeral expenses. This payment may require liquidating assets or using the departed person’s financial accounts to pay these debts.

Step 3: Distribute assets

After paying debts, the administrator must distribute the remaining assets according to the terms of the will or state law. Distribution may involve transferring ownership of assets, such as real estate or financial accounts, to the designated beneficiaries.

Step 4: File required documents

Throughout the probate and estate administration process, the administrator must file various documents with the court, including an inventory of assets, a report of debts and expenses and a final estate accounting. The administrator must also notify beneficiaries and creditors as the law requires.

Serving as an estate administrator can be a complex and time-consuming task. However, by understanding and fulfilling the general responsibilities of this role, you can ensure that the probate and estate administration process carries out smoothly and efficiently.

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