Losing a loved one is said to be one of the most painful experiences someone will experience during their lifetime. When a family member passes on, it seems that there’s never a good time to think about anything else besides undergoing the grieving process. However, reality dictates that the living will have to go on with their lives and remember the deceased by carrying out their last wishes.
Managing the deceased’s estate can be a very daunting task most especially if you share close ties with them while they were still alive. In such as situation, estate attorneys form atlanta can help you out in managing your estate planning efficiently.
If you’ve been assigned as an official executor of the will, it’s your responsibility to keep things in order on behalf of your departed kin’s final wishes. To take a bit of load off your shoulders, here’s a list of tips to help you get started in getting the deceased’s estate in order.
Know If A Will Is Available
Before finding out where and how to start, the family has to determine whether the deceased has a last will and testament explaining their last wishes before their departure from this world.
If such a document exists, the executor may proceed in performing the appropriate tasks to get the estate in order. With its absence, the family has to apply for probate for the courts to assign the family member who’s most fitting to manage the decedent’s properties and other affairs.
A family lawyer can help you by providing sound advice on how to move forward.
Make Everything Legal
It’s advisable for you to wait until the court assigns you as the official administrator of the estate before making any further steps. Similarly, if you’ve been identified as the executor of the will, it’s your responsibility to manage the estate appropriately as requested by the decedent.
An executor will have to apply for a grant of probate. This grant provides legal authorization for you to have access and manage, as well as distribute the deceased’s estate—as detailed in the last will and testament. A grant of probate can be obtained in the probate registry office.
Meanwhile, an administrator will have to apply for a grant of letters of administration in lieu of the grant of probate.
Proper Inventory and Appraisal Is Key
Start the process by literally cleaning the departed person’s ‘house.’ Hire a rubbish removal company for a specialized service in cleaning up a deceased estate’s property.
It’s recommended for you to make an inventory by making a detailed list of the assets they have left behind including their value. Professional help from an appraiser may be needed in cases where special items are concerned especially antiques and artworks.
Alongside this inventory and estate appraisal, the executor and administrator will have to notify the proper agencies to settle tax payments, debts, and other liens and incumbrances. An appraisal is crucial, as the value placed on the estate assets will determine the amount of taxes that need to be paid. Simply put, higher estate value means higher estate taxes.
You can always object and question the appraisal results and notify the court before moving forward to ask for another party to conduct a separate asset evaluation. As an executor of the will, part of your duties will be sending frequent estate accounting updates to the probate court.
Make Sure To Preserve The Remaining Assets
An executor or administrator should never attempt at mixing their assets with that of the deceased. Consider opening a separate bank account under the estate’s name to ensure that it’ll be preserved.
The executor isn’t allowed to invest any of the estate’s cash earnings, although he or she may decide which of the assets to sell and which ones to retain for distribution. The court may authorize the executor to sell holdings especially if the proceeds will be used to pay for debts and other expenses such as unpaid estate taxes.
Additionally, you may want to place valuable assets under insurance while waiting to be distributed to their rightful owner and beneficiary.
Hire A Legal Counsel
While the presence of a designated legal counsel isn’t required in every estate transaction, having a lawyer on your side can help ensure that all processes are within the bounds of the law.
Estate laws may sometimes be complicated and you may need an attorney to guide you in navigating through the whole process. This is especially true if there are too many factors and aspects that make estate management more complex than it should be.
A legal expert is trained and experienced in handling difficult legal situations. As a third-party entity with no ulterior motives and a wealth of experience, a legal counsel can help an executor and administrator carry out the wishes of the deceased without any hitches and delays.
Being designated as a will executor or administrator is both a challenge and a privilege. This means your family members, especially the deceased, trust that you can manage the estate and the departed’s worldly affairs properly.
As a representative, you have to ensure that the last wishes of the departed are carried out flawlessly. But more than ensuring fair distribution, your main objective should be to provide comfort to the heirs and beneficiaries despite their loss.