How Personal Representatives Can Minimize Court Involvement

During the implementation of an estate plan, personal representatives and trustees must be careful to comply with all of the California laws, rules, and regulations relating to the administration of trusts and estates. In some cases, full court supervision during this process can be unnecessarily burdensome. The Independent Administration of Estate Act (IAEA) is a series of laws created to avoid this problem. If you are in the process of administering the estate of your loved one, you will likely become familiar with the terms of this Act.

An Overview of the Ability to Draw Upon the IAEA

Perhaps the most important benefit of the IAEA to the personal representative of an estate is the ability to carry out some aspects of the administration without court supervision. The personal representative must be given the authority to administer the estate under the IAEA in order to reap its benefits. How and when is this authority given? The following is an overview:

  • Authority to administer the estate under the IAEA can be given through the will of the decedent.
  • The ability to administer an estate without some aspects of court supervision under the IAEA can also be given by the court itself, upon the filing of a petition by the personal representative.
  • Typically, this petition is filed at the onset of the estate administration. However, it is permissible for it to be done at any time during the proceedings.

There are certain instances where an estate administration under the IAEA is not permitted. This includes situations where the will of the decedent specifically prohibits it. Another example of a situation where a personal representative cannot take advantage of the provisions of the IAEA is where an interested party to the estate presents the court with good cause as to why it should not be allowed. If the court agrees with the interested party or the will contained a specific IAEA restriction, the authority of the personal representative is thereafter deemed to be “limited” as opposed to “full.”

Since minimizing court supervision can significantly improve the time that it takes to administer an estate, it is important for all personal representatives to determine whether the IAEA is available to their particular estate administration. Our office of experienced attorneys can help you make this determination. We encourage you to hear how we have helped others by viewing our client testimonials page today.

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm