When an individual passes away, his or her estate must be settled with the county clerk's office in which they resided. Randolph County Clerk Brenda Wiseman explained the process that leads to the final settlement being recorded in the courthouse is somewhat complicated and drawn out.
An individual who had a will that named an executor provides an easier process than those without a will.
The executor named in the will takes the document to the county clerk's office for verification and to receive a court order legally naming them as the executor.
FINAL SETTLEMENTS — Randolph County Clerk Brenda Wiseman demonstrates how she would prepare to settle an estate at the county courthouse. There is a special room and computer in the Randolph County Courthouse in which county clerk employees can take those settling an estate. (CU and The Inter-Mountain/Carra Higgins) © The Inter-Mountain, all rights reserved.
Following being named the executor, the county clerk's office will provide that person with an appraisement booklet in order to document the value of the items owned by the deceased. Among the items to which the executor must assign a monetary value with 90 days are vehicles, real estate, jewelry and stocks. Wiseman says her office will assist individuals completing the estate appraisement.
After the estate is appraised, the county clerk's office must run a legal notice in the respective county's newspaper in order for creditors or an interested party to file a claim or object to the settlement of the estate.
Then, the executor or administrator pays outstanding bills for the estate and the remaining money is disbursed to the heirs following the 90-day period.
The final step is the actual final settlement, which can be accomplished one of two ways: Waiver of final settlement, which the executor or administrator and all beneficiaries will sign the waiver form in front of a notary public; or by Final Settlement of Receipts and Disbursements, which involves a list of monies in the estate and monies that come into the estate, and a list of monies paid for the estate, such as bills and funeral expenses.
The final settlement is then recorded in the county clerk's office to release the personal representative or bondsperson from the estate. Typically the cost of recording a final settlement is $11. The final settlement must remain in the county clerk's office for at least 10 days. After the 10-day period, the county commission approves the final settlement for it to be recorded in the county clerk's office.
Wiseman said that although a person may be living with a relative or in a nursing home at his or her time of death in another county, the final settlement must be filed in the county in which he or she legally resides.