If you have been named the executor of someone’s estate or the Trustee of a Trust, you may be unaware of all the details this responsibility entails. Most parents name a child as an executor, but seldom do children then do the necessary research to see what estate administration is all about – and when it comes time to take over these responsibilities, they panic or miss important deadlines and details.
Immediately following the death of the estate owner or trust grantor, executors/trustees should:
Secure tangible property. It’s amazing how many things “walk away” from a decedent’s home right after they die. Someone may feel that Aunt Betty would have “wanted” them to have the silver collection, so they just take it. So it is important that executors secure all tangible property – especially if that property may require an appraisal – so they can plan for the distribution of the property as outlined in the decedent’s will.
Take your time. After you have secured the tangible property, take a little time to grieve before worrying about most financial matters. You will probably want to pay bills, but these can wait a month or two without repercussion. However, you do need to notify Social Security within 30 days of the death.
Talk with your attorney. Meet with your Personal Family Lawyer® to receive the guidance you need to properly administer the estate. Any fees incurred will be paid out of the estate, not your pocket. And the advice you get will be invaluable. If you have prepared a plan with us and you are on one of our VIP Membership programs, your executor will have a no-charge meeting with us after your passing and then we will support with administration of the estate and trust at a 50% discount off of our regular fees.
Here are some general rules, which vary from state to state, for estate executors regarding the steps that need to be taken to properly administer the estate:
If you would like to have a talk about estate planning and administration, contact a Personal Family Lawyer® today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.