Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration, Conservatorships:
If you have been named the executor of a will, or if you want to become the administrator of the estate of a person who died without a will, we can help. It is hard enough to deal with the passing of a loved one without having to deal with the paperwork required by the courts. If all of the heirs will agree in writing as to who will become the personal representative (executor or administrator) then we may be able to charge a flat fee for drafting and filing the required petitions, and guiding you through the process. We make sure that our clients understand their legal duties and responsibilities once they become the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative has, among others, the following legal responsibilities:
A decedent's estate must be probated when there are assets owned by the decedent, or if testamentary trusts need to be established. A probate petition opening an estate is required when a wrongful death injury is settled or tried before proceeds are distributed. When a minor child receives over $15,000 from a settlement, verdict or insurance policy, a petition must be filed to have the court appoint a conservator to handle the child's funds until the child becomes 18. When a guardian is sought for a mentally incapacitated adult, a conservatorship must be established. All of these scenarios require a petition filed in the probate court, and the probate court entering an order and issuing Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration, or Letters of Conservatorship. If insurance policies, retirement accounts, pay on death (POD) accounts, and joint bank accounts do not have a named beneficiary, then, then the funds would belong to the decedent's estate, and probate would be necessary. Any accounts with a named beneficiary would not be included in a decedent's probate estate.