There are two forms of administrations a court may require after a person passes away, and their Will or property is probated – independent and dependent. In an independent administration, the Court will generally require only one hearing and filing of the inventory of the estate after the executor is appointed. In dependent administration, the Court will have more supervision on the estate. The Court generally oversees all steps taken by the executor. A wills attorney Arlington, TX trusts can discuss this process with you.
The primary purpose of a dependent administration is ensure that the executor is meeting his/her fiduciary duties to manage estate assets. This duty involves:
- Ensuring that the estate assets are being collected and preserved
- Sell, or convey estate property to pay claims,
- Repair and maintain the property
- Pay taxes on the property
- Purchase insurance on the real property
- Manage or operate a business of the decedent
- Manage stocks and bonds of the estate
- Assert or settle claims on behalf of the estate
- Answer and defend any lawsuits, and
- Ensure that the beneficiaries receive the largest possible distribution.
The probate process for dependent administration is similar to that one of independent administration. A person will need to request the Court for dependent administrator and asked to be appointed as personal representative of the estate. When filing a probate, if the applicant fails to request a independent administration, by default the Court will determine it to be a dependent administration.
A person can serve as personal representative of a dependent administration if she is a resident of Texas, not a convicted felon or incapacitated person. If a person seeking to be appointed has adverse claims against the estate, he/she may not be qualified to serve as a personal representative.
Once an application has been filed with the Court, the Court will hold a prove up hearing to prove up the estate for dependent administration. A bond may be required by the Court. Once the personal representative pays the bond, she will receive letters of administration. At this point she is required to meet her fiduciary duties owed to the estate.
Ninety (90) days after the date she is qualified to receive the letters of administration, she will be required to file Inventory, Appraisement and list of claims with the Court. She will also be require to attach supporting documents with the Court to support her inventory. At this point, the Court will review the inventory and prove it or require the personal representative to amend the inventory and provide all necessary information.
Once appointed, a personal representative is required to file a verified accounting no later than 60 days after the first anniversary on the date she receives the letters of administration. These accounts are considered annual accounts and must be done each year until the estate is closed. A failure to file annual accounting may be cause to remove the personal representative.
Once property is ready to be distributed, the personal representative will have to distribute estate assets to the beneficiaries/heirs. Once distribution occurs, any claims of the estate are paid, the estate is ready for closing. A final Accounting and settlement of estate will be required by the Court prior to authorizing the close of administration. The court will require supporting documentation to be attached with final accounting. The court may reject or accept final accounting. If the final accounting is rejected, the personal representative will have to re-file final accounting with Court’s instructions. If the accounting is accepted, the Court will discharge the personal representative and close the estate.
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