Understanding the Executor's Role in Estate Planning
Fiduciary Responsibility and Asset Distribution
Preparing for Executor Duties
The learning curve could be steep, especially if the executor does not know a lot about the person’s finances and possessions, or is new to the tasks of managing money, corralling heirs or the legal processes that occur after someone dies. If the decedent didn’t tell the executor where his records and important papers are kept, things can get even more challenging.
Here’s what an executor needs to know, preferably before her services are needed:
Gaining Knowledge and Communicating with Heirs
Get informed and up to speed. Read the will and see if the decedent’s intentions are clear. That’s not always the case. When one man became executor of his mother’s will, he and his sister had two different interpretations about what their mother wanted to happen to the family home. While they wrangled out the issue, there were property taxes to be paid and maintenance costs. A letter of direction explaining things clearly would have prevented many problems.
Sit down and talk about it. It is a kindness to heirs to share information and intentions, while you are still alive. Discuss the will with the immediate family to avoid any surprises or misunderstandings. Consider having an annual conference with children to ensure that they understand the estate, the will and what to expect. If you have an argumentative family, doing this in advance won’t guarantee smooth sailing, but it may lessen the fighting.
Compiling a Comprehensive Inventory
Securing the Estate and Preventing Theft
Changing Locks and Installing Security Measures
Handling Legal and Tax Requirements
Obtaining Death Certificates
Consulting an Estate Planning Attorney
Managing the Estate's Finances
Opening an Estate Account
Applying for a Separate Tax ID
Distributing Assets to Heirs
Estate Planning Legacy Planner
Everyday, we work with people who have lost someone they care about. There is so much these folks have to organize and manage. This planner organizes the information they will most need, in our experience, saving so much time and unnecessary cost. Besides organizing your information, it's so important to have a good estate plan that will keep your family out of court and conflict.
Please use the button below to receive a free copy of our Estate Planning Legacy Planner, an organization tool essential to any estate plan designed to help your loved ones take care of you and handle your affairs.