Following the passing of a loved one, it is now up to you as executor to ensure that their final wishes are respected and fulfilled. However, nobody informed you of the level of commitment the role would require. Suddenly, you find yourself burdened by seemingly endless responsibilities.
Before diving deeper into the process, step back and breathe. You might manage estate administration more effectively by taking it one step at a time.
Know the responsibilities of an executor
Too often, people dive into probate without fully understanding what estate administration entails. Your responsibility expands beyond distributing assets to heirs. You must also accomplish the following:
- Submitting the decedent’s will to the court
- Notifying and communicating with potential heirs and beneficiaries
- Creating an inventory of assets
- Settling the estate’s debts and taxes
- Maintaining the properties owned by the deceased while probate is ongoing
Executors face a series of important tasks, all of which demand careful attention to detail. Probate for simple estates can be settled in a matter of months, but complicated estates may take years.
Practice time management
As the executor, you’ll need to juggle multiple tasks. Time management is essential. Creating a timeline of tasks and deadlines might help see which to prioritize. It might look overwhelming at first, but you can break large tasks into smaller, manageable ones.
Still, it may be too much to do alone. Figure out if there are individuals close to the decedent, such as a trusted family member, accountant or financial advisor, who possess valuable information that could greatly assist you in fulfilling your duties.
With so many moving parts, it’s essential to keep track of the legal documents, financial paperwork, contact information and other pertinent information you encounter. Finding and updating information becomes much simpler with proper organization.
Hiring experienced attorneys can prevent crucial mistakes
Estate administration often involves intricate processes and difficult people. Issues may suddenly arise that you have no time to address. Any missteps could further delay the process or subject you to legal complications.
Working with skilled probate attorneys may lighten your load and prevent serious mistakes. The estate should pay for legal fees, so you will not have to cover them yourself. As an executor, you could be facing a long and difficult journey—it is perfectly fine to seek help.