Spiro J. Verras Blog

Monday, December 19, 2016

Simple Tips for Executors

How can I prepare for being an executor?

While being named as executor of a loved one's estate may be an honor, it is also a serious responsibility. In fact, managing another's assets can be complicated and stressful, but there are steps you can take to make getting the job done easier.

The first thing to recognize is that coping with the loss of a family member or friend is emotionally challenging. Dealing with grief can not only make you sad, but irritable and anxious, all of which can affect your ability to think clearly. While there may be things that need to be done quickly, such as arranging for the funeral, take time to mourn before you assume your role as executor.

Once you're in the proper frame of mind, it's important to realize settling an estate means dealing with complicated documents such as will and trusts as well as understanding the probate process. In addition, there may be debts to pay and assets that need to be appraised and sold. In short, you will be handling a lot of paperwork such as financial documents, deeds, bank and investment account statements, death certificates and the like. For this reason, should you engage the services of an experienced estate and probate administration attorney  who can help navigate the process.

Perhaps the most difficult task you will face is communicating with beneficiaries. Not only do they have a vested interest in the estate assets, they will also be dealing with their grief. It is important to communicate with them regularly to keep them up to date and put their minds at ease. Similarly, it is equally vital for you to take care of yourself. Grief and sadness may linger and the stress of the loss can deplete you emotionally and physically. Be sure to rest, eat right, exercise and seek counseling, if needed.  

The Takeaway

In the end, being an executor is a time consuming process and settling an estate typically takes about a year. While beneficiaries may pressure you to rush, your work should be broken down into manageable parts over time. If you know that you are being named as an executor, it is also helpful to learn as much as possible from the person before he or she passes away such as where the will is kept, information about their assets, account numbers and whether they are working with an attorney. In the end, being named an executor can be stressful, but being prepared can make dealing with the situation easier.

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