Independent administration is generally preferred when administering a probate estate (over $40,000) within one year of the decedent’s death. However, if the heirs won’t consent to independent administration and the Will doesn’t specifically designate it, then the only alternative is to proceed under a supervised administration.
Supervised administration means just that; the probate process is supervised by the probate court. The court must approve the actions of the personal representative at each step and he/she is required to provide annual statements for audit and review. This additional involvement by the court generally requires more time and effort by the attorney representing the personal representative, which can create additional attorney’s fees.
On a positive note, a supervised administration can offer a constructive forum where disputes can be raised and ultimately resolved between interested parties. In addition, having court approval at each step can also provide liability protection for the personal representative of the estate if he/she is concerned about potential claims of wrongdoing by the other heirs or creditors.
The court may allow a supervised administration if the following conditions are met:
- The petition must be filed within one year of Decedent’s death
- A bond is required for personal property only (unless Will states no bond)
- The entire process typically takes approx. 10-14 months to complete