Simplifying the Probate Process
It is hardly ever easy when a loved one dies. There is, of course, the grief involved. If you’ve been appointed executor of the estate, you’ll be tasked with dealing with all of the financial aspects that the deceased left behind.
If you are the executor, you have a big job ahead. First, you will need to identify all the assets, which, if your loved one was financially well-off, could take some time unless everything is outlined in a will or trust. You will also need to pay off debts. Whatever is left over will go to family members and other heirs, based on the instruction in the estate planning documents.
Acting as the executor is a huge task that requires a lot of organization and focus. A lot of project management is involved. Some people are better at this than others. No matter how good you are at details, this part will take up a lot of your time.
Many estates have to go through probate, but hopefully that won’t be the case for you. Many people put their assets in a revocable trust. If your loved one failed to do so, though, prepare for probate and the battle that comes with it. If there is a will involved, it will need to be validated. Then all the deceased’s assets will need to be appraised. Once all taxes and other debts have been paid, whatever is left is distributed to beneficiaries. The good news is that some assets, such as life insurance benefits and retirement accounts, do not have to pass through probate.
However, court appearances and mountains of paperwork can make this a costly and time-consuming process. Beneficiaries and family members may not be happy and will want to blame you. They may even accuse you of trying to take over all the assets. This can lead to nasty battles among family members.
Because of all the issues that can occur during probate and other parts of the process, for some people, acting as an executor can be a huge burden. This can be true in many cases, such as when the deceased was very wealthy and left behind a huge amount of assets and accounts. When heirs are at war with each other and unwilling to negotiate, it can be hard to be the peacemaker. In these situations, it may make sense to hire a professional executor. This takes the heat off you and allows a professional to handle the situation.
Seek Legal Help
After the loss of a loved one, you are dealing with the grief associated with their death. Dealing with wills, trusts and probates at the same time can make this a complicated situation.
Issues can occur as more and more family members get involved. There may questions about asset division, dealing with debts and paying taxes. Fort Lauderdale probate litigation attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you get through these matters with ease. Schedule a consultation by calling 954-764-4330 or filling out the online form.