The number one goal of an estate representative is to close the estate without fear of future problems. Problems most often arise when some person believes the estate’s assets were not distributed according to their rights. These claims usually begin with a demand letter from an attorney and often result in a petition filed against the representative.
Beneficiaries have the right to file a petition to compel a “formal accounting.” These petitions require the representative to account for how estate funds were distributed in open court.
Defending such a petition can be costly and should be avoided whenever possible. But the only way to avoid petition situations is to administer the estate with proper recordkeeping and according to the law.
Beneficiaries tend to bring these claims when they feel excluded from the administration process. A court situation can be avoided if the representative administers the estate properly and involves beneficiaries in the ongoing work.
The best way for a representative to close an estate is through is through a written agreement with all beneficiaries. A written agreement is usually in the form of a “family settlement agreement” or “receipt and release”. These agreements release the representative from liability to beneficiaries and provide indemnification protections from creditor claims.
Written agreements between representatives and beneficiaries are usually the best outcome for everyone involved. Agreements provide assurance that the estate was closed correctly and allows the parties to forget about the legal issues forever.
As a probate law firm for estate executors, we help settle estates efficiently and reduce stress. If you know someone faced with a probate process or roadblocks to an estate property sale, please have them contact us for a free evaluation at:
Phone: (215) 918-4242
If you are not quite ready for a consultation, download our probate handbook HERE. We’ll send you helpful probate guides and resources so you know how to handle the estate.