When someone passes away, their estate is usually handled by an executor that they name in a Will. When the decedent doesn’t have a Will with a named executor, the courts will appoint an administrator to manage the estate. The courts will also appoint someone if the named executor is found to be incompetent, the designated person unwilling to act as trustee, or the named executor dies before he can complete his duties.

Who is the court likely to appoint?

The courts may appoint another family member or friend of the decedent to administer the estate, but they are also likely to appoint someone who is professionally qualified to perform the duties such as an attorney, accountant, or another person who has experience taking on these responsibilities.

What are the administrator’s responsibilities?

An administrator is given full power to take possession of the estate, sell it if required, collect debts due to the decedent, and represent him in all matters which relates to the property. They are also authorized to pay the debts (with the sold assets if required) and is entitled to compensation as a commission on the amount which he handles.

He is bound to use due diligence in his responsibilities and may be held to account if he mismanaged the estate. He is also authorized to file and defend actions in court in his name to manage the property.

Individual administrators may not have the full power to administer the estate. They may be limited to a part of the property or if the named executor dies before completing the administration of the estate they will finish the job.

Contact A Washington Estate Planning Attorney Today

If you have been appointed an estate administrator by the courts or someone has been nominated for your loved one’s estate, and you have concerns about the property being handled properly, you should speak to an attorney familiar with estate law. The team at The Law Offices of Dan Kellogg serve the State of Washington with estate planning and will be able to advise you about your situation and how to proceed. Contact us by calling 425-227-8700 or fill out our online contact form.