Your estate plan is an essential part of passing down your legacy, and will include how you want to distribute your assets. It should also name who will be responsible for taking your estate through the probate process.
For many, probate sounds like a complex process. While probate can come with complications, the process may seem intimidating because people usually know very little about it.
When you talk to your loved ones about probate and who will be your personal representative, it will be helpful to give them information regarding what to expect.
Locating the documents and assets
Before your personal representative starts the probate process, they will need to locate your estate planning documents so they can contact an attorney who will file for probate, if necessary. They will also need to identify and locate your assets and liabilities.
When you choose your personal representative, talk to them about where they can find your estate planning documents and your assets so they do not have to track them down.
Finding beneficiaries and creditors
Before your personal representative can distribute your assets, they must ensure your estate has paid any valid debts. You should assemble contact information for any creditors your personal representative will need to contact.
Often, the part of probate that requires the most time is notifying creditors with potential claims to your estate. When your personal representative cannot find your creditors, there is a notification process and a waiting period to see if a creditor files a claim in your estate before you can distribute the remaining assets to your beneficiaries.
Finally, your personal representative will need to pay the expenses of administration and distribute your remaining assets to your beneficiaries. When you talk to your personal representative about your estate plan, provide them with a list of beneficiaries and their contact information. You should keep this information as up-to-date as possible so the personal representative can contact your loved ones when necessary.
Providing your personal representative with the resources they will need during probate will simplify the process and reduce stress at a difficult time.