The estate administration process can be challenging, time consuming, and stressful. While you may not be in position to avoid this altogether, there are things you can do to better understand your situation and the steps you should be taking.
The process can appear intimidating, which can keep you from making any decisions. However, it’s important to know your responsibilities and move forward in an efficient manner.
Here are several tips that can help you get through the estate administration process without too much hassle
- Obtain the death certificate. This is one of the first steps you will take, and you don’t want to overlook the importance.
You will need a copy of the death certificate for many things, such as if requested by a life insurance company.
- Find the will or trust. Let’s put it this way: you cannot move forward with estate administration until you have a copy of the will or trust. This is the document that will guide every decision that you make, so you need to get your hands on it as soon as possible.
- It’s okay to get help. Many people put the entire burden of estate administration on their back. However, they soon find that this is too much for them to handle on their own.
Don’t bog yourself down by attempting to handle this responsibility on your own. If you need help along the way, you can reach out to an estate administration attorney. This doesn’t mean you are no longer in charge. And it definitely doesn’t mean that you have failed somebody. It simply means that you want to do the best job possible. Bringing a professional into the fold can ensure this happens.
- Learn more about probate. At some point, sooner rather than later, you need to determine if the estate is required to go through probate. There many factors to take into consideration, including the way the estate is setup as well as the state in which the deceased lived.
If probate is necessary, the probate court will confirm your appointment as executor. This is done by providing you with letters testamentary.
- Pay bills and taxes. For many executors, this is one of the most challenging parts of the process. You are responsible for collecting all bills and taxes, ensuring that these are paid in full and on time.
It can be difficult to become familiar with all the decedent’s debts. Often times these can continue to add up even after the person is gone. Don’t fret! If you take your time and remain organized, you can handle this with great success.
Final tip: as tempting as it might be to move as quickly as possible so you can put this in the past and make everyone happy, you need to take a step back. It is your job to act in a responsible manner, and this means being patient.
If you rush the process and make a mistake, you could be found personally liable. Is that a risk you are willing to take?
These are just some of the many things you need to know about estate administration. You will never know what this process is all about until you are faced with it. At that point, you will get a better feel for what is expected of you and how to move forward.
Are you ready to learn more about estate administration, wills, and trusts? If so, we have plenty of advice for you. For example, you can download our free report entitled “Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Wills and Living Trusts.”
With this, you will gain a better understanding of why it is never a good idea to create your own will or living trust. Not only can this make life difficult on you when creating an estate plan, but it can put your executor in a difficult position in the future.
Now that you know more about estate administration, you should feel better about your ability to take on this process with success. And of course, be sure to read our free report to pick up more general advice on a variety of topics.