In Missouri Probate administrations (other than small estates) are administered in one of two modes — Independent or Supervised. The names are fairly descriptive. In a Supervised administration the Court must approve most actions taken by the Personal Representative. On the other hand, in an Independent administration the Personal Representative handles most of the matters without permission, and simply reports to the Court when the process is complete. For instance, in a Supervised estate, in order to sell real estate the court must approve the sale not once, but twice. In an Independent administration you simply sell, and report the results at the end.
How do you choose? Generally Supervised administration is the default. To get permission to administer the estate Independently either the will must provide for this, or all heirs must consent. Ultimately, in either situation, the judge will decide. In the majority of cases Independent administration is preferred. It is faster simpler, and often less expensive. So, why would anyone ever want a Supervised estate? We generally recommend them if there is significant disagreement or dissent among the heirs or beneficiaries, or if there is something controversial about the Will or the assets. Supervised estates generally offer the Personal Representative more protection against disgruntled heirs or other interested parties.
Making the proper decision is very important, and the pro’s and con’s should be discussed with the attorney at the beginning of the representation.
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