So You're an Executor, What Now?
It's certainly an honor to be named as a loved one’s Executor, but it can also be a whole lot of work. Your job is to protect all of the decedent’s assets until all of their funeral and burial expenses, debts, income taxes and inheritance taxes have been fully paid and resolved.
Here's a basic breakdown of some of the primary obligations that you will have:Find, manage and protect all of the Decedent's assets until they can be distributed.
Determine whether formal Probate proceedings will be required (remember laws vary by state.
Determine who the heirs and beneficiaries are (make a list of names, addresses & telephone numbers.
If there is a Will, find it, make copies of it and secure and protect the original.
Secure credit cards, notify banks, the post office and agencies such as the Social Security, Medicare, and the V.A. of the death.
If probate is required, open the estate and establish and set up the estate bank account (you're most likely going to need and estate lawyer to assist you through the probate estate administration process.
Use the estate account to pay the ongoing expenses of the estate pending the administration process (don't mix your own monies or other non-probate monies into the estate account, this can result in big problems later on.
Notify creditors and begin to resolve any debts that the decedent may have had (be careful here because not all creditors are treated equally, this is where a qualified estate attorney can really help you out.
Pay the income tax and inheritance and estate tax obligations of the estate (again, be very careful, get expert legal advice to ensure that tax mistakes aren't made.
Make distribution of the assets and obtain either a family settlement agreement or court approval and authorization before doing so.
The Probate Process Can Be Complicated, Getting Experienced Legal Advice is ImportantSo what the heck does probate even mean? Not surprisingly, most people have no idea what the probate estate administration process entails until they find themselves unwittingly dragged into. Unfortunately, this process typically coincides with the death of a loved one. So not only are you dealing with a sad and emotionally charged situation to start with, but you now find yourself dealing with a complicated and often frustrating legal process at the same time.
If you've recently lost a loved one and find yourself needing to open and administer the individual's estate, don't go it alone. At American Wills & Estates we've been helping clients in Pittsburgh and throughout Western Pennsylvania navigate the probate estate administration process with competency, compassion and care for over 25 years. We provide the majority of our estate administration services on a flat fee basis and we don't expect to be paid until the administration of the estate has been completed.
If you're looking for a trusted, experienced and affordable law firm to guide you through the probate process, give us a call today to schedule your free legal consultation or visit our law firm online.