Definition of Probate and Estate Administration
Most people own some assets or carry some debt at the time of their death. The assets and liabilities of someone who has passed away form their “estate.” Each state has its own set of laws governing what to do with the estate and how to accommodate the deceased’s estate plan - or lack thereof. The process of closing an estate is overseen by the state’s probate court system. So, lawyers who work with probate laws and estate administration focus on what happens after someone dies, as opposed to estate planning attorneys, who try to put a plan in place before death.
Terms to Know
For more estate planning and administration terms, see FindLaw’s estate planning glossary.
Practice Area Notes
Since estate planning and estate administration are so interrelated, many attorneys who practice estate planning also do estate administration. Estate planning attorneys need to understand how their strategies will impact the estate administration, and administration attorneys need to understand all the various estate planning techniques.
However, estate planning attorneys usually charge a flat fee, which may vary depending on the size and complexity of their client’s assets and family. Estate administration attorneys often charge a percentage of the estate after taxes are removed.
Related Practice Areas