Handling the estate of a loved one who has died is often a bigger job than many people realize. This is particularly true when loved ones have not updated their estate plans in a long time.
These tips can make the process easier.
Assemble a team
If you are the executor of a loved one’s estate, it can be helpful to seek the advice of professionals who can explain your responsibilities and help you identify assets and debts. A good place to start is any financial advisor your loved one worked with, such as an attorney, accountant or insurance professional.
There are a few documents you should gather to help you with the process:
- Multiple copies of the death certificate
- Account statements for financial accounts
Make a checklist
There are several tasks you must complete. A checklist can help you keep track of what you have done and still need to do. Tasks include paying bills, taking an inventory of assets and closing accounts.
Check probate rules
Your loved one’s estate may need to go through probate before you can legally start distributing it. Additionally, you must pay any outstanding taxes and debts of the estate.
Settling an estate can take months or even years, depending on the size and complexity. Be prepared for the process to take some time.
Settling a loved one’s estate is a time-consuming process that requires planning and patience. If you are unsure what to do, experts advise seeking professional advice before taking action.