Delaware estate administration is the legal process of gathering assets, paying debts and distributing bequests (non-real estate) and devises (for real estate gifts) to the named beneficiaries as provided for in a Last Will and Testament or by the Delaware intestacy laws, where there was not Will. In the case of a person with a Will, the beneficiaries are named. In the case of a person without a Will, the law provides for who the beneficiaries shall be depending on the marital status and the surviving next of kin.
At the time of death a number of assets may be owned by a trust or may be automatically given to loved ones through beneficiary designations, for all other assets, be they monetary, tangibles or real estate property, are part of the probate estate. In New Castle County, Delaware, estates with any real estate or other assets worth more than $30,000 require that a petition be filed with the county Register of Wills, followed by an inventory of assets and then a final accounting, plus a fee paid to the Register of Wills. That is true whether someone dies testate (with a Will) or intestate (without a Will). When someone dies, their estate becomes an entity that needs to be properly managed. In most estates, an executor has been named in the Will to serve as personal representative, and if intestate, then someone may petition to the Register of Wills to be named as administrator, also a personal representative.
When you work with our team at the Williams Law Firm, we ensure that your Delaware estate administration is handled properly to reduce the burden on you. Understanding the role our law firm can play during this process will help you understand why it is important to have us on your team. .
During the estate administration process an attorney coaches you through the process to collect, manage and distribute the deceased’s individual estate in accordance with Delaware’s state laws and the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. If a decedent had a revocable trust before their death, then most of this process may be moot, provided that the assets of the decedent’s estate were retitled into to the name of the trust. That would reduce the probate process.
For other assets not put in trust during a decedent’s lifetime, many estate plans provide for a “pour-over” Last Will and Testament that only names one beneficiary, the trust. For that process we can also help with the Delaware Trust Administration. For others without a Trust or Pour-Over Will, then a Delaware Estate Administration process may be necessary.