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Marlene Cooper Law

The Special Administrator

At 61, Dan was known throughout his community as a successful, active and fun loving person. He was a veteran, a college grad and all around good guy who loved people and loved his job — a small roofing business he’d started in his early 40s. He was in good shape and had a clean bill of health, just enjoying life and running his company (which didn’t even seem like work to him). To some, Dan was somewhat of a hero, providing quality service and gainful employment to 7 members of the community.

Tragically, Dan was involved in a bad roofing accident one day and pronounced dead at the scene. He was not married so his next of kin, his mother, had to take immediate action. The days that followed were hard on everyone. As Dan’s loved ones worked together to plan his funeral, Dan’s mother took on the added burden of making sure Dan’s business would stay afloat until permanent arrangements could be made for its disposition.

Because Dan was the sole owner of his business and had not created a business succession or estate plan, his mother’s only course of action was to seek orders from the probate court giving her power to run the business in Dan’s absence. The quicker the court order was requested and approved, the better it would be for all concerned.

In situations like this, an experienced attorney can assist by petitioning the Court to have someone appointed as a Special Administrator: someone to handle the tasks involved in running the business on an interim basis until a full probate can be commenced. In the Petition the attorney helps delineate specific powers to be requested — simply asking the court for the ability to run the business is not adequate. The requested powers are usually numbered and specific. Some examples include: Pay salaries of employees and other bills that are due; receive payments from clients; hire professionals to appraise the business and prepare it for sale; deal with government and regulatory agencies; enter into new contracts for business, etc.

Fortunately, the court system allows the process of having a Special Administrator appointed to matriculate through the court system rather quickly. A diligent attorney can clear this process within a couple days or possibly even one day. Once the Court approves the petitioner and an order is given, the Special Administrator, with court certified copies of the order, can take control of the business.

This is one example of the use of a Special Administrator in an emergency situation. If there is a circumstance requiring immediate action or a remedy, appointment of a Special Administrator might be the answer. © 2012 by Marlene S. Cooper. All rights reserved.

Marlene Cooper Law