What Does Independent Administration Mean in Probating a Will?

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When someone dies, his estate may have to go through a probate process to pay final debts and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. States set their own probate procedures, and many states have simplified procedures that are cheaper and quicker for small estates. In some states, including Texas, Missouri and California, estates can be settled through a process called independent administration.

Independent Vs. Dependent Administration

Probate courts do not have much oversight over cases being administered independently, so the process can be completed more quickly and affordably. Independent administrators can sell property, pay debts, close accounts and take other actions on behalf of the estate without having to ask the court for permission first. Administrators must comply with the will's instructions, however, as well as the notice requirements of the state. Sometimes, estates are better off with dependent administration, such as when beneficiaries do not get along or when the estate owes significant debts.

Allowing Independent Administration

Depending on state law, courts allow independent administration if the deceased person's will specifies that the estate should be administered independently or when all beneficiaries give written consent to independent administration. Any adult can act as the administrator or executor, unless he has been found to be unsuitable under state law or by the probate judge.

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