Helpful Tips for Estate Executors
It’s certainly an honor and a privilege to be appointed as the Executor of someone’s will, but it is also a big responsibility and can be a lot of work. Taking on the role of executor means that you will need to be organized, pay attention to detail and most importantly, you must have the ability to communicate effectively with beneficiaries. If you have been named an Executor and don’t know where or how to begin, here are some tips to help you get started.
Find Qualified Legal Assistance
The duties of an Executor include legal responsibilities and must take into account the potential for liability if something goes wrong. You can protect yourself, your family and the decedent’s loved ones by making sure you find an experienced and reputable estate planning attorney at the beginning of your executorship. It is best not to wait until arguments have arisen or mistakes have been made. Being proactive in finding a qualified attorney to guide you through your estate administration duties will ensure that you have peace of mind throughout the process.
Organization is Key
Following proper procedure and having access to accurate paperwork are essential for completing the probate process. Your attorney can assist you in putting together a list of all the necessary paperwork that is required. You will need to gather information about the decedent’s assets including bank, insurance and investment statements as well as deeds to the individual’s home or other real estate. You will also need to locate statements reflecting credit card balances, mortgages, loans and any other outstanding liabilities or debts. Gathering all the required information at the beginning of the process is guaranteed to result in a more efficient estate administration.
Good Communication Goes a Long Way
Executors act as the go-between to several different parties including the probate court, the decedent’s creditors, the IRS, and the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate. It is a good idea to maintain a list of everyone’s contact information so you have it ready and easily accessible whenever you need it. You can circumvent potential problems caused by disgruntled heirs by keeping them up to date. Communicating clearly and being proactive with them as probate unfolds will help to keep the process moving smoothly. Remember to keep track of all of your communications should a dispute arise.
If you have been named as an executor and don’t know where to begin, we can help. To discuss your specific needs and find out how our estate planning attorneys can help you navigate your role as Executor, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412-254-8533 or contact us online.