The death of a loved one can be a difficult time to navigate, especially considering the emotional toll it can take. The last thing you want to think about now is how to practically go about handling and administering their estate and all the little steps that need to be taken to wrap things up. To help you out, we have put together some steps that will help you get started. Above all, there is no real urgent rush to do anything legal right away. Take your time to gather information and sort things out emotionally and financially before you need to call us.
Receipts and Paperwork
Staying organized early helps tremendously. Even though you don’t have to do anything immediately, it’s a good habit to keep everything related to the estate in a box or envelope, or at least together in the corner of the desk. Having everything in one spot can help you save time down the line. You can organize this paperwork later when you need to or give it to your lawyer to manage.
Funeral and Burial Arrangements
This is one of the first things that the executor or administrator assists with and is often one of the most expensive steps as well. Many people detail their funeral and burial wishes in their Wills or a Letter of Wishes. You will want to look there first to see what plans have been made and note whether they have any prepaid arrangements made so that there is no doubling up of expenses. Keep receipts of any expenses spent post-death so that it can be accounted for early.
What Documentation Do You Need?
There are many processes involved in probating a will. Having all the necessary documentation is imperative. Be sure to acquire all documents that may be relevant to the probate process. These documents can include:
- Most recent Will and Codicil(s)
- Letter of Wishes
- Power of Attorney
- Representation Agreement
- Bank statements
- Real estate property assessments
- Listing of assets
- Listing of liabilities
- Contact information for beneficiaries and everyone named in the will
For more information on what you’ll need to get started, feel free to browse through our Estate Administration Workbook. This has loads of information to help orient yourself if you are in the position of having to execute an estate.
Who is the Representative, or Executor, of the Will?
The Will in place most likely will detail who is to be responsible for executing the Will.
No Will In Place?
In the event that no Will or Letter of Wishes is in place, an administrator will be designated by the court to aid in the distribution of assets.
Getting Some Legal Help
You can never tell what kind of situations will come up during the probate process, so it’s important to have an experienced estate lawyer on your side. If you’re executing the estate, there are many decisions that will need to be made and you want to ensure the advice you get is sound. Paperclip Law’s experienced lawyers can help make the probate process seem like (almost) a breeze. Contact us today.