Informal Probate Administration

Informal administration is where the bulk of the process is by agreement of the interested parties. The notice requirements are still the same. After the short certificate, the executor or administrator needs to notify all possible beneficiaries as well as all possible debtors by publishing notice in the local law reporter and a local newspaper of general circulation. The executor or administrator should notify social security, employer(s), banks, insurance companies, retirement plans, etc. regarding the death of the decedent. The tax returns for the decedent and the estate still need to be completed with applicable taxes paid.

The actual distribution of the estate is by agreement of the parties. All parties should sign a final receipt and release or family settlement agreement. In this instance, it is not necessary to file a formal inventory and accounting with the court. The benefit is there are fewer filing fees and legal fees since less paperwork is filed with the court. Also, there may be more risk of liability on the executor or administrator, specifically if distribution of the estate is occurring prior to the one year mark from notice. It is a good idea to still wait the one year and to also still have an inventory and accounting prepared and presented to the beneficiaries.

Click here to read more about probate of an estate.