Being named the executor of a loved one's estate is an enormous responsibility, requiring you to submit the will to the court, hire an estate attorney, and pay any outstanding debts, along with performing a variety of other tasks. Many people find this lengthy process overwhelming, especially when disputes regarding the will arise. Below are a few tips that will make handling the estate of a loved one much more manageable.
3 Tips for Managing a Loved One's Estate
1. Get Copies of the Death Certificate
Many of the tasks you'll undertake will require copies of the death certificate, from shutting off the utilities to closing bank accounts and notifying the Social Security Office. Filing the decedent's final tax return and cashing in the life insurance policy will also require official documentation. Most estate attorneys recommend requesting twice as many copies as you initially think you'll need to take care of unexpected situations.
2. Hire an Estate Attorney
An experienced legal professional can help you avoid common mistakes that often cause unnecessary delays, and identify any potential problems before they arise. In most cases, your lawyer will fill out the forms for you and appear in court on your behalf, making the process much smoother and faster.
3. Avoid Rushing
You may be tempted to distribute the estate's assets before the probate process is concluded, especially if inheritors are pushing for a speedy resolution. However, this is often a mistake. If an error occurs or a dispute arises, you could be held financially liable for someone else's losses. Remember that the executor of a will is acting as an officer of the court, and should follow the legal guidelines.
Stephen B. Kaufman, P.C., is a Bronx estate attorney dedicated to providing his clients with the personal attention and high-quality legal advice they need. If you've been chosen as the executor in a loved one's will, visit the team’s website or call (718) 822-0500 to learn how they can help. Follow their Facebook for additional legal tips today.