Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen an overall rise in Probate Matters that come through the door. Generally, when a person is appointed as the Executor of an estate, they may not have a full understanding of the different options available to administer the decedent’s estate. Many clients are surprised to learn that, depending on your relationship to the deceased and the value of the potential estate, there may be some short-cut options to administering the estate.
If a decedent has left behind a Will and appointed an Executor, there are generally three potential options for administering the estate: a Full Administration, a Release from Administration, and a Summary Release from Administration. Both the Release from Administration and the Summary Release from Administration are “short-cut” applications that require less documentation than a Full Administration requires.
The Full Administration is likely what most Executors will have to file with the Probate Court to administer the decedent’s estate. This application requires the most documentation out of the three options and the highest filing fee. If the decedent’s assets exceed $100,000, the Executor can likely expect to be filing for a Full Administration with the Probate Court.
The Application for Release from Administration may be viewed as the middle tier option. This application is available if: (1) the applicant is the surviving spouse of the decedent and the assets do not exceed $100,000; or (2) the applicant is someone other than the surviving spouse and the assets do not exceed $35,000. The filing fee for a Release from Administration is also less expensive than that of a Full Administration.
Perhaps the easiest option is the Application for Summary Release from Administration. This proceeding is available if: (1) the applicant is the surviving spouse entitled to the entire family allowance, the surviving spouse paid or contracted to pay the funeral bill, and the assets do not exceed $40,000, plus $5,000 for funeral reimbursements; or (2) the applicant is someone other than the surviving spouse and paid for or contracted to pay the funeral bill, the assets do not exceed $5,000, and the funeral expenses are equal to or exceed the amount of the assets. This application is the least expensive and probably the quickest way to administer an estate.
In general, it can be rather intimidating to be appointed as someone’s executor, which is why it can be a great idea to seek the help of a Probate Attorney to help guide you through the process. If have been named as an executor in someone’s will or are in line to administer an estate of someone who died without a will, please give our office a call at (614) 534-1355 for a free consultation.
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