The estate's assets are not frozen during the probate process.  Once an Executor is sworn in (usually within a day or two of the funeral) all of the assets are then available to the executor or administrator.  The executor or administrator is then able to control the investments, pay all valid invoices and to make advanced distibutions to beneficiaries.  However, when an excutor makes early distributions, he or she should take legal precautions to ensure that they are not personally laible for these "at risk" payments to beneficiaries.
David M. Frees, III
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Attorney, Speaker and Author