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Inventory of a Decedent’s Estate: What Happens After It’s Filed?

The death of a loved one is never easy, and the following probate process can be an overwhelming experience for many. After all, it’s not every day you have to inventory someone’s estate—from their property to their financial assets. It requires thorough attention to detail and knowledge of state laws to ensure everything is properly accounted for. But what happens after filing the Inventory of Decedent’s Estate (Form AOC-E-505)?

In this article, we will explore the decedent’s estate inventory process and provide advice on ensuring nothing falls through the cracks when dealing with a loved one’s estate. Read on to learn more about what happens after filing the inventory and how our estate planning attorneys at Cary Estate Planning can help.

Determining Beneficiaries of an Estate

When managing an estate, you need to determine the beneficiaries to ensure your loved one’s wishes are respected. Start by researching wills, trusts, insurance policies, tax returns, and probate records to identify who should receive any assets or possessions left behind.

Notify all designated beneficiaries about their inheritance, ensuring they sign documents confirming their acceptance of entitlement before distribution can occur. If there is no will or legal heirs cannot be located, local laws usually determine the rightful inheritors of the estate. Funds from the estate remain frozen until all parties sign the necessary documents, deciding on its use and allocation.

Identifying and Paying Estate Debts

When managing an estate, you will need to pay off any debts associated with the estate, such as credit card bills, medical expenses, funeral costs, mortgages, and taxes. The process can be complicated and lengthy depending on the estate’s size and debt owed.

You must identify which creditors should be paid first, following state laws that dictate the order of payment. You will then need to contact each creditor and settle their claim through payment or negotiation. Once all debts have been settled, you must file any necessary tax returns and pay any taxes owed.

Filing Taxes

As the executor, you must inventory all assets, debts, income, losses, and deductions of the deceased to calculate what’s owed to the government. They must file IRS Form 1040 and any other required forms like gift tax or fiduciary income tax returns.

Professionals like accountants or attorneys can help with the process. You should also check if any state or local inheritance taxes need filing and ensure all deadlines are met.

Distributing Assets to Beneficiaries

Distributing assets can be complex, depending on how much wealth was left behind and how many beneficiaries are involved. All financial accounts must be divided according to legal requirements, and any tangible items must be assigned a value before they’re distributed.

There may also be disputes between family members as everyone vies for their share of the inheritance. A fair yet legally binding resolution must then be reached in order for assets to be dispersed properly.

Finalizing the Estate Administration Process

As the executor of an estate, it can feel like you’ve been running a marathon when you reach the sixth and final step: finalizing the estate administration process. Just as any runner feels relief after crossing that finish line, you, too, will be relieved to finally close out this chapter in your life. Wrapping up an estate requires ensuring that no loose ends remain.

This might include:

  • Filing receipts or making sure creditors are paid
  • Settling disputes among beneficiaries
  • Preparing tax returns and paying taxes due
  • Closing bank accounts
  • Obtaining release letters from various agencies
  • Dispersing remaining funds to heirs
  • Collecting documents related to property sales or transfers
  • Returning assets such as stocks or bonds to their respective institutions
  • Submitting court forms showing how debts were handled and more

In some cases, probate litigation may also need to occur if there are disagreements about how assets should be distributed. All these actions must be taken care of in order for an estate administrator to fulfill their duty properly.

The ultimate goal here is not just closure but also peace of mind—knowing that nothing was overlooked during this complex process and that everyone connected with your loved one’s legacy has received what they deserve according to the terms set forth by law.

Trust Cary Estate Planning for Your Estate Administration Needs

Managing an estate can be complex and overwhelming, especially during a difficult time. At Cary Estate Planning, we understand the challenges of estate administration and can help you navigate the process with ease.

Our experienced attorneys are committed to providing you with personalized and compassionate service to help make this process as stress-free as possible.

Don’t go through this process alone. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys and let us help you manage your loved one’s estate with confidence.

Author Bio

Paul Yokabitus

Paul Yokabitus is the CEO and Managing Partner of Cary Estate Planning, a Cary, NC, estate planning law firm. With years of experience in estate and elder law, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including estate planning, guardianship, Medicaid planning, estate administration, and other cases.

Paul received his Juris Doctor from the Campbell University School of Law and is a North Carolina Bar Association member. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among the “Best Attorney in Cary” in 2016 and 2017 by Cary News and Rising Star in 2020-2023 by Super Lawyers.

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