In a routine probate proceeding, the court will typically set the first probate hearing about six to eight weeks after the filing of the probate petition. This hearing is the first opportunity for the court to appoint an administrator for the estate. Sometimes, there may be special circumstances where an administrator needs to be appointed immediately.  In this case, it is possible to ask the court for emergency Letters of Special Administration in Probate. These emergency Letters will give an individual temporary but immediate authority to act on behalf of the probate estate, pending the regular hearing which is typically set for a later date. Read on to learn more details about how to get emergency Letters of Special Administration in probate.

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Reasons to Request Letters of Special Administration

Many different situations could require a person to ask the court for emergency Letters of Special Administration. We should point out that the statute does not define what these particular situations are, and therefore, approving emergency Letters of special administration is always up to the discretion of the judge.  Examples of conditions where a judge might allow the appointment of a special administrator are:

      1. No one is available to pay the mortgage on real estate.
      2. Someone needs to step in to remove a tenant destroying decedent’s real property through eviction
      3. Decedent’s assets subject to probate require immediate action to avoid penalties or tax.
      4. Someone needs to claim decedent’s assets held as unclaimed property by state that are subject to immediate forfeiture
      5. There is a reverse mortgage on real property which is facing foreclosure.
      6. The decedent owns a large number of perishable goods that need to be sold immediately.
      7. The decedent was in the process of selling a house, and an administrator is needed to get the house out of escrow.
      8. A person needs to step in to protect a valuable asset from theft.
      9. A lawsuit needs to be filed for the estate before the statute of limitations expires.
      10. Someone is needed to run the decedent’s business.
      11. A family member who is in control of an asset is attempting to hide it.

 

Another instance when the court may approve emergency Letters of special administration and appoint a special administrator is when there is a will contest, and there will be a considerable delay before a permanent administrator can be approved.

To ask for emergency Letters of Special Administration and the court to appoint a special administrator, you need to file two separate probate petitions, the usual and customary Petition for Probate as well as the secondary Petition for Special Administration. Both Petitions will include, as part of each separate Petition, Petition for Probate (DE-111).

Letters of Special Administration Require an Urgent Situation

Included in the petition for Special Administration is an attachment that identifies, in detail, the facts and background of the emergency that is requiring the appointment of a special administrator. Remember, the “emergency” cannot be to simply to speed up the probate proceedings.  The Petition should be filed along with the Duties and Responsibilities of the Personal Representative (DE-147), the Confidential Supplement and all other attachments required. Upon receipt of both Petitions, the court will consider the urgency of the need for the special administrator. Since the judge’s decision is made solely from the content of the paperwork, it is critical that the documentation is proper and complete. If the judge feels the request is justified, the court will appoint a special administrator without a hearing.  The special administrator may be the person who petitioned the court, or it may be a public guardian or neutral fiduciary depending on the nature of the emergency.

Authority Granted with Letters of Special Administration

The court can grant emergency Letters of special administration in probate and include any powers that it believes are required under the circumstances to protect the estate.  Usually, this means that the special administrator will have limited powers, temporarily. Keep in mind, these limited powers will stay in effect until the court conducts the standard hearing on the second Petition. If the special administrator is needed to pay a mortgage, then the court might give them access to the decedent’s bank accounts and nothing else.  In some situations, the special administrator will have other general powers in their capacity. Remember, the appointment of the special administrator ends once the court appoints a permanent administrator. The court may, however, the special administrator to complete specific tasks.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information about appointing a special administrator. We have successfully helped many customers successfully get Letters of special administration while they are waiting to be appointed the estate’s Personal Representative. You don’t need to hire an attorney for We can help you prepare the documents required to get emergency Letters of special administration in probate and save you thousands of dollars. Call us today at 800-747-2780.

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