Has a loved one trusted you with the duties of being the executor of their estate? If so, you probably know how complicated it can be. Dealing with the probate courts can be taxing. So how can you make it easier? There are some ways that people have found to be effective in reducing the stress of being an executor. This article will provide 4 tips that can help you carry out your duties effectively.
Get More Than One Copy Of The Will
If you happen to be the executor of the estate, you should first locate the most recent copy of the last will and testament. This is the document that outline's the deceased's final wishes regarding distribution of the estate, guardianship of minor children, and burial arrangements.
When you find the most recent copy of the will, be sure to make multiple copies. The original document will be filed with the court. You will need to make sure the wishes of the deceased are carried out as indicated in the will.
The Death Certificate
After securing copies of the last will and testament, you will need to get the death certificate. In some states, it is required that the family members receive copies of the death certificate.
Since you are the executor, you will need to ensure that each family member gets a copy. Additionally, since you will need to deal with the estate's debts and liabilities, you will need the death certificate for other parties as well.
Some of these parties include:
- Financial institutions
- Government agencies
Assets And Property
Before dealing with the deceased's debts, you will have to figure out what assets and property the estate owns. You will need to take an exhaustive inventory of the bank statements, investments, bills, personal property, and insurance policies.
Depending on the state you live in, you will need to file the written inventory with the court. You may also need to give a copy to the beneficiaries.
As the executor, you will also be responsible for paying the taxes on the estate. Make sure you procure a copy of the estate's recent tax returns. Document any expenses that were for medical care. These, and other expenses can be deducted.
It's best to consult with an accountant. They can give you some guidance on limiting the tax liability of the estate.
Distributing The Estate
Lastly, you will be tasked with distributing any of the assets and property the estate owns. You will do this in accordance with the instructions outlined in the last will and testament. Although it's rare, sometimes the will may be contested by some of the family members.
If the will is contested, then the probate courts will be responsible for judging the outcome. In some cases, it can take years to resolve the dispute.
If you are tasked with being the executor of your loved one's estate, there are ways to make the job easier: follow the tips in this article. You should also speak with an attorney at places like Begley Carlin & Mandio LLP who can give you the guidance you need.