Being the executor of someone’s estate can be an honor, but it always requires that person to take on a fair amount of responsibility. The idea that someone is putting their faith in you to handle matters in the event of their death is certainly powerful. Being named the executor of an estate means that you will be personally responsible for protecting the savings, property, and assets of the deceased person until the probate process is complete. There are several tips to keep in mind that can really help out when the time for an executor to take action comes up. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 4 valuable tips for the executor of an estate to take so that you will always be ready to handle your duty.
1. Make Sure to Obtain the Death Certificate
If you are named the executor of someone’s estate, you will be responsible for any funeral and burial arrangements for the deceased. You will pay the costs out of the deceased’s estate. It’s important for you to obtain as many copies of the death certificate that you need from the funeral home. You will need to provide the death certificate to the banks, any investment firms, and the Social Security Administration. It’s a good idea to order twice as many death certificates as you think you need just to be safe.
2. Locate the Will or Trust Documents
The next valuable tip for acting as the executor of someone’s estate is to locate the will or trust documents. It’s important to get a copy of these for the probate court. If they had a living trust, you might be able to avoid the probate court process as well. If the deceased had a trust, you can immediately start distributing the assets without approval from the court. There are plenty of different situations that you might have to deal with depending on how the deceased’s estate is set up. If you need any assistance, you can always reach out to Derryberry & Associates LLP for expert legal advice.
3. Reach Out to the Professionals
After you’ve taken care of the first two steps mentioned above, it’s always a good idea to reach out to a probate lawyer or estate planning lawyer to learn about the best course of action. These legal experts can advise you and help you avoid costly mistakes. You might be dealing with beneficiaries that are trying to get you to act quickly, so it’s a good idea to have a legal expert by your side helping you figure out the best course of action. Reach out to Derryberry & Associates LLP today if you are an executor of an estate looking for some extra legal expertise.
4. Pay All of the Debts
It’s also up to you as the executor of an estate to take care of all of the deceased’s debts. That mean paying off creditors, taking care of tax issues, and making sure that the deceased has enough assets to cover all of their debts. Try to find the details about the deceased’s financial situation to make this step a lot easier.