What is Estate Administration?
Administration is the process that happens after the personal representative is "installed." During the administration of an estate, the personal representative will gather all estate assets, pay all the deceased persons debts, file any required tax forms, and distribute the assets to the deceased person's heirs by following the terms of the Will, or according to state law.
There are a lot of laws and statutes, both from the state and from the federal government, that impact every aspect of the administration. For the most part, the court - through the Surrogate in NJ or the Register in PA, stays out of the administration process and it is left to the personal representative to handle the affairs of the estate.
How long does the administration of an estate take??
It depends. That's the honest answer. In New Jersey, an estate must remain open for a minimum of 6 months to handle all creditor applications for payment. Most estates remain open for about 18 months. There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of to properly close out a person's estate.
One of the biggest hurdles is time management. A personal representative will need to handle all aspects of a person's estate, as well as manage their own life. It's a lot to manage. Another big hurdle is selling real estate. Just like with selling any other house, property can languish on the market for months for a lot of reasons.