If the probate estate consists of real property, the personal representative will need to contact the insurance company of the deceased and inform the insurance company of the passing of their insured. The personal representative will need to obtain insurance coverage for the real estate. Many times the real estate will be vacant. There are a few known insurance companies that do not insure vacant property. The personal representative will have a duty to make sure the real estate is insured.
The personal representative will have to rekey the locks to the real estate to ensure that the property is locked and protected.
In order to inventory the value of the real estate, the personal representative might have to hire an appraiser to appraise the property.
If the deceased owned real estate that was being leased out, the personal representative will have to review the lease and determine what steps to take due to the death of the owner. Sometimes the lease will provide for notice to be given to terminate the tenancy upon the death of the owner. The attorney representing the personal representative will be able to guide and assist the personal representative in these matters.
Claims against the estate might be filed in the probate estate. The personal representative will have to determine what was paid previously to the creditor and how much should be paid to the creditor. Sometimes the attorney for the estate will schedule a hearing on the claim in order to determine the amount that should be paid by the personal representative.
The personal representative might also have to deal with the complexities of a will contest. The will contest will be heard by the probate court judge.
The personal representative will have to take certain actions depending if the estate is supervised or if it is administered independently.
After the appropriate statute of limitations have passed, and all claims and taxes have been paid, the personal representative will have a duty to distribute the assets which remain in the estate to either the beneficiaries named in the decedent’s will or pursuant to the laws of intestate distribution.
In Missouri in order to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries, a supervised personal representative will seek the Probate Court’s approval for the final settlement and petition for the distribution. In independently administered estates, it is very common to file a statement of account in order to make the final distribution. In Missouri there is a 20 day objection period after the filing of the Statement of Account which must pass for independently administered estates before the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries.
Each probate estate is unique. While there a few commonalities for all probate estates in Missouri, each probate estate must be administered based upon the facts of that particular case.
If you are wondering how you might avoid the probate process in Missouri, please feel free to watch my video, A brief Guide to Living Trusts.
If you have any questions regarding the probate process in Missouri, please feel free to contact our office. Thanks for stopping by.