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NC and SC Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm

Monday, December 16, 2019

What Happens When an Estate Is Closed?

The administration of an estate can be a lengthy and sometimes frustrating process. The personal representative of the estate is tasked with its administration and the job duties are extensive. To administer the estate, the personal representative must, among other things, gather and protect all assets, take inventory of the assets, notify all creditors, determine which debts are legitimate and must be paid off, and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries as directed by the will or, if there is no will, as directed by state intestacy laws. At the end of all of this, the estate will be closed.

The Process of Closing an Estate

Before the closing of an estate, the personal representative must first file a final accounting with the probate court. The final accounting is a statement that outlines all of the transactions the personal representative entered on behalf of the estate. Additionally, the final accounting must include any evidence supporting the transactions it outlines. This means that things such as canceled checks, receipts, and financial statements should be included when submitting the final accounting to the court. If the estate stayed open for longer than a year, an accounting must have been annually filed with the court.

The personal representative must file a petition the court to close probate. If all creditors and taxes have been paid and there are no other outstanding issues to be addressed, the Court will go ahead and issue an order closing the estate and distributing the estate assets to the beneficiaries. The personal representative is entitled to fees for the services he or she provided. This fee is usually stated in the will or, if it is not addressed in the will, the fee is based on the size of the estate. Most personal representatives tend to pass on taking a fee, especially considering the fee is subject to income tax.

Sometimes, the closing of an estate is not the end of things. There are cases where issues arise and it becomes necessary to reopen the probate estate after it has been closed. This can occur when something like new assets or estate property has been discovered after the estate has been settled.

The closed estate can be reopened, but, in order to reopen an estate for subsequent administration, the interested party must petition the probate court to reopen the estate. Oftentimes, the interested party is the personal representative. The same personal representative may be reappointed by the court to oversee the subsequent administration of the estate or a new personal representative may be appointed.

During subsequent administration, any claims that were barred in any prior administration of the estate are still not permitted to be asserted. Once the reason the estate was reopened has been handled, the estate must be once again closed.

Comprehensive Estate Planning

At Monk Law, we are here to see that you have a comprehensive, reliable estate plan in place to protect the future of you and your loved ones. We are also here to help with the administration of your estate or that of a loved one. We will continue to provide you with support throughout the process and into any subsequent estate administrations that may arise. Contact us today.


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| Phone: 803-594-4453
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| Phone: 704-369-9977

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