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Ensure you handle estate administrator duties properly

The estate administration is challenging for some people because of all the guidelines they must comply with. If you're named as the administrator over an estate, you should learn about what you must do and what you shouldn't do. Making mistakes could mean that settling the estate takes longer, and it could mean the heirs don't get the full inheritance they are due.

As part of the duties you have to complete, you need to pay off the estate's creditors. This doesn't ever fall on the heirs to pay. You must handle this in a specific order since there are some debts that are considered priorities. Don't fall into the mistake of distributing the assets too soon. The debts must come first. This includes paying the final tax return from the estate, if there is anything owed.

You must advertise the estate in accordance with state laws. This gives the creditors the chance to make a claim against it. By-passing this step can have serious implications, so work with someone who is familiar with the accepted methods of advertising the estate.

Another task you have is to find all the assets and heirs. Make sure that you do this properly. Once you know where everything is and who is included in the estate, you have to close the estate. This can mean heading to court to have the distributions approved. Alternatively, you might file a family settlement agreement that shows that everyone with an interest in the estate has received what they are due.

Throughout the process, you might have questions. Make sure you have an advisor who can help you with the legal aspects of the duties. You also need someone who can help you ensure you are handling the fiduciary duties properly.

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  • TBA - Tennessee Bar Association
  • Tennessee State Courts - TNcourts.gov
  • Athens Area Chamber of Commerce
  • LAET - Legal aid of east Tennessee - Justice for all
  • Board of Professional Responsibility of supreme court of Tennessee