After our initial meeting, we can usually decide if an administration is necessary or if we can proceed without an administration. We can also typically quote a flat fee for completing the succession.
With either type of succession, the next step is to develop a list of the deceased person assets and debts and their values. The list is called the "Detailed Descriptive List" and the executor/administrator works along with the attorney to develop it.
The list can be easy to assemble in the case of a well-organized person with few debts. Or, it can take several weeks to compile.
Factors that make the list difficult and/or time-consuming to compile are:
- The deceased person kept poor records or the records can't be found
- The records are in the hands of a family member or other person who refuses to release them
- The records are in a safety deposit box and no one has access to the box
- Medical and other substantial bills remain unpaid. For example, it can take several months for hospital bills to be submitted to an insurance company and then obtain a final bill that is to be paid by the estate
- Values for real estate, business interests, antiques or jewelry require appraisals