After the probate judge appoints a personal representative for the estate,
the attorney and personal representative continue through a sequence of tasks.
Protect assets. The personal representative (may be a beneficiary) acts as the 'fiduciary' to protect the estate's assets. The personal representative will work with the attorney to determine how separate accounts and investments must be established or maintained.
Accounting , Inventory & Tax Returns. Detailed records of income, expenses and all transactions must be kept so that the personal representative can show assets when you took control, plus income and additional property, less expenses, equals current assets on hand. This information may be used for preparation of tax returns, Inventory to the court and others, and accounting reports.
Legal Notices are required - and vary from year to year. It may be necessary to publish Legal Notices (to announce that the estate is being settled) and it may be necessary to send Legal Notices to government agencies and to beneficiaries. The attorney will handle these steps.
Pay creditors. There are detailed procedures for paying bills if the bills or invoices are submitted through the probate procedure.
Determine formalities required or waived by beneficiaries. Usually family beneficiaries do not require formal accounting reports, appraisals, etc. but other beneficiaries (such as charities) require formal reports, additional documentation, more steps in the probate process. The attorney will inform the personal representative.
Determine timing for distributions to beneficiaries. The attorney will inform the personal representative and beneficiaries when there will be partial distributions and when there will be final distributions.
Prepare documents to Petition the probate court to close the estate -- to official state that the personal representative has properly completed his or her duties.