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Steps to Take as an Executor


Dealing with a loved one’s death can be an emotional experience. Not only are you dealing with the grief but you may have to play a role in settling the deceased’s estate as well. This is called being the executor of their estate and it’s not an easy task.

There are important decisions to be made during this time. Having a clearly defined process in place can make the process easier. Still, when a loved one passes away, it’s normal to have some confusion about handling an estate. You may have loved ones who are making the process harder, despite their good intentions. Or maybe you have no clue what you’re doing.

You may be in a hurry to get things over with. While settling an estate can be a long, arduous process, it’s not something you should rush through. It’s more important to ensure that the estate is settled properly. Your best bet is to have a plan in place. Here are some steps to take.

Get Copies of the Death Certificate

If you are filing any claims or need access to accounts, you will need proof that your loved one has died, and this proof comes in the form of a death certificate. If you are working with a funeral home, the director will often help obtain death certificates. If not, then the county clerk or recorder can assist you. Most companies you work with will require originals, so aim to get at least 10 originals.

Gather Estate Documents

Next, try to locate the deceased’s estate documents, if available. Is there a will or a trust? Is there any type of document with instructions? If not, then you will need an attorney to assist you with the probate process.

Make a List 

Do you know where the deceased banked? Is there a life insurance policy in place? Make a list of financial situations and companies that you will need to contact and let them know about the death. Just don’t close any bank accounts yet, as you may need them open to cash checks.

Contact Social Security and Any Pension Providers

If your loved one was receiving Social Security benefits, you will need to notify the Social Security Administration to have payments stopped. If your loved one received a pension, contact the pension provider to have any eligible benefits paid to the estate. If your loved one served in the military, you may be eligible for veterans’ benefits, particularly if you are a spouse or dependent.

Gather Documents

Look for bills, statements, deeds, titles, and other important documents. Have subscriptions canceled and notify creditors of your loved one’s passing.

Seek Legal Help

Settling a loved one’s estate can be a complicated process. You may need a lawyer’s help to get through the process quickly.

Fort Lauderdale probate litigation lawyer Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can handle your Florida probate dispute with skill and efficiency. Skilled legal representation is essential to protect your rights and interests. Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling 954-764-4330.



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