What Does Independent Administration Mean in Probating a Will?

By Heather Frances J.D.

When someone dies, his estate may have to go through a probate process to pay final debts and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. States set their own probate procedures, and many states have simplified procedures that are cheaper and quicker for small estates. In some states, including Texas, Missouri and California, estates can be settled through a process called independent administration.

When someone dies, his estate may have to go through a probate process to pay final debts and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. States set their own probate procedures, and many states have simplified procedures that are cheaper and quicker for small estates. In some states, including Texas, Missouri and California, estates can be settled through a process called independent administration.

Independent Vs. Dependent Administration

Probate courts do not have much oversight over cases being administered independently, so the process can be completed more quickly and affordably. Independent administrators can sell property, pay debts, close accounts and take other actions on behalf of the estate without having to ask the court for permission first. Administrators must comply with the will's instructions, however, as well as the notice requirements of the state. Sometimes, estates are better off with dependent administration, such as when beneficiaries do not get along or when the estate owes significant debts.

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Allowing Independent Administration

Depending on state law, courts allow independent administration if the deceased person's will specifies that the estate should be administered independently or when all beneficiaries give written consent to independent administration. Any adult can act as the administrator or executor, unless he has been found to be unsuitable under state law or by the probate judge.

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Do You Have to Probate a Will According to the Laws in the State of Texas?

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Why Is Advertising an Estate Important?

An estate refers to the assets someone leaves behind when he dies. When you make a will, you typically name an executor, also known as a personal representative, to manage and distribute your estate in compliance with the terms of your will. One of the duties of the personal representative is to advertise the estate according to the laws of the state where the will is being probated. "Advertising" the estate can take various forms.

How to Wind Up the Estate

Winding up an estate may require probate, regardless of whether the deceased left a will. Legally transferring title to a decedent's property is a process that every state addresses for its residents. Many states allow estates with no real property and only a small amount of personal property to wind up without probate, while other states usually require the appointment of a personal representative, identification of heirs or beneficiaries, publication of notice to creditors, and property inventory and appraisal before a decedent's property is finally distributed.

What Happens When a Revocable Trust Ceases?

Revocable trusts are often used as estate planning tools. Unlike wills, the administration of trusts after death can usually be done without going to probate court. Once the creditors and taxes are paid, any remaining trust assets are distributed according to the trust creator's instructions. However, state laws vary as to what is required to wind up a revocable trust, which can affect how long the process will take.

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