No one wants to think about the death of a family member, so when it happens, many people are not prepared for the next steps. Of course, there’s planning the funeral, but what about managing the estate and administering the will? Nothing has to be done immediately, and it’s ok to take the time to grieve. But if you’re ready to take the next steps, here are some tips about where to start.
What Does the Executor Do?
The executor of someone’s estate is responsible for settling the deceased’s affairs. Settling affairs can include things like
- Closing bank accounts
- Notifying government agencies like Social Security and the post office
- Selling or managing the loved one’s property
- Settling debts
- Creating an inventory of assets
- Distributing inheritances and assets to beneficiaries and heirs
Step One: Obtaining Death Certificates
In order to accomplish much of the above duties, you’ll need a death certificate. Financial institutions and government agencies won’t discuss any affairs with you unless they can confirm your loved one has died. To ensure you have plenty of copies of the death certificate to distribute to the organizations that need it, ask for at least 10-15 copies.
Step Two: Consult a Wills & Probate Lawyer
Your next steps include
- Obtaining letters testamentary to prove that you have the authority to settle affairs
- Probating the will, if needed
- Administering the will
- Verifying and settling debts
- Creating an inventory of estate property
- Selling real property
- Preparing an accounting of the estate
All of these steps are much easier if you consult a wills and probate lawyer. He or she will have the expertise to guide you through each step of the process. Using a lawyer will save you money in the long run because the estate will be properly managed. In addition, it relieves you of some of the burden, allowing you to grieve and heal.
Let the Probate Lawyers at WHGM Help You
The lawyers at WHGM understand that you’re going through a difficult time and are here to help. We want to make the process of settling your loved one’s estate as easy as possible. To learn more about how we can help you, give us a call at 478.987.1415.