What is done during administration?

At the beginning, all assets of the estate, including personal possessions and real estate, are inventoried and sometimes physically gathered. All of the beneficiaries (if there is a will) or heirs (if there is no will) are located. They are told that they were named in the will or have a legal right to receive an inheritance. Funeral expenses, debts, state and federal taxes are paid, and necessary tax returns are filed. At the conclusion of the administration period, a final accounting of all assets is presented for approval to the county court. After approval, distribution of the balance of assets is accomplished.

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1. What is estate administration?
2. Who administers an estate?
3. What does a personal representative do?
4. What is done during administration?
5. What should be done first?