Being responsible for handling a probate estate can be a daunting task. If you find yourself in the position of being named someone’s executor or personal representative, you can go a long way help yourself by anticipating your duties and planning ahead. Here are some helpful tips to help you get started.
Consider the appointment carefully.
If someone nominates you to serve as the executor or personal representative of an estate, you should always take some time to consider whether you wish to serve in the position. You have no legal obligation to serve as anyone’s executor, and you can always refuse to serve if you do not believe you are capable. Also, if you accept and later change your mind, you should immediately notify the person who chose you so alternate arrangements can be made.
Obtain numerous copies of the death certificate.
All too often, the dying process is one of bureaucratic requirements. Once a person dies, the executor will have to notify creditors, property holders, banks, insurance companies, and numerous other organizations and individuals of the death. To do so, you’ll need numerous copies of the official death certificate. You can obtain these from a licensed state officials such as a funeral director or medical examiner, but you should always get numerous copies so you will have them easily at hand.
Take your time.
Though family members and creditors may urge you to act quickly has an executor, it’s always in your best interest to proceed carefully and deliberately. You need the advice of a good probate attorney to tell you what kind of timeframe is appropriate, but you should never feel obligated to pay creditors early or rush to pay beneficiaries. It can be a long time before you know how much money the estate has and owes, and early payments can come back to haunt you.