The loss of a loved one – whether expected or unexpected – can be a devasting time for grieving family members. In addition to the emotional toll it takes on loved ones, specific legal steps must be taken when executing a will.
Estates are composed of the late loved one’s possessions, including their home, savings account, investments, and other items they owned. Executors have essential responsibilities following the death of a family member. Applying for probate comes first, regardless of the estate’s size.
The probate process
Probate is a complicated process that involves locating all the assets and confirming debts. Sometimes, emotions run high as loved ones try to stake their claims to specific assets. Often, disagreements become heated and reach the level of family feuds that only lengthen an already lengthy process.
Being named an executor is an important responsibility following a tragic loss. Ideally, that critical task was agreed upon when the will was initially drafted. Identifying assets is paramount, including bank accounts, investments, cars, pensions, and life insurance policies. Most of these possessions must go through some valuation.
Debts also play a crucial role, including mortgages, loans, credit cards, and personal debts. In some cases, funeral expenses are also figured into the estate. Any inheritance taxes must be taken care of as well.
Few tasks are more personal than being the executor of a will. In the midst of grief, you must perform a seemingly Herculean task that comes with probate. Help from an estate planning attorney can remove some of the burdens during a difficult time.