When you agreed to become the executor of your uncle’s estate, he was in good health, and you felt his demise was a long way off.
However, Uncle Ed died unexpectedly, suddenly putting you in the position of administering his estate. Here are five tips to help you succeed in this new role.
1. Locate the will or trust
You can follow the instructions in your uncle’s will, but first, you must file a copy of the will with the probate court. If your uncle had a living trust, you may be able to avoid probate since the trust owns the property of the decedent. Both the will and trust will give you an idea of the size of Uncle Ed’s estate, and, consequently, how complicated your job as executor will be.
2. Protect the assets
A major task for any executor is locating and protecting the assets of an estate. This includes information related to bank accounts, investment accounts, real property, business interests, insurance policies and more. Make sure that none of the beneficiaries takes an asset, such as a painting, until the probate process concludes.
3. Pay the bills and taxes
As executor, you will take charge of paying your uncle’s final bills and paying his taxes. You can open a bank account in the name of the estate or trust from which you can make payments and accept deposits.
4. Take your time
Many executors try to get through the work as quickly as possible. However, rushing may lead to mistakes. If you remain organized, you can approach the various tasks efficiently. Take your time.
5. Seek professional help
To be successful, always ask for help from professionals. Your attorney, for example, can provide essential guidance and keep you from making any legal missteps in your work as an executor.