Coping with death can be devastating when a close family member or friend dies– and unfortunately, there is a lot of technical legal and financial issues to deal with, as well as the emotional ramifications of your loss. While there’s nothing we can do to alleviate the sadness you feel about losing your loved one, we can make the process of coping easier by taking care of the legal tasks through the estate administration process.
One of the most challenging things about coping with a death of someone you care about is that it is hard to know what the future holds. This confusion is compounded by the fact that you also have to figure out what your financial situation will be and how the assets left behind by the deceased will be distributed. In many cases, assets will have to pass through probate, which is a court supervised process. Sometimes, however, the deceased will have made an estate plan to pass assets outside of probate, which can include a Revocable Living Trust and the trustee acts as the fiduciary to handle the estate through trust administration. Also, other non-probate assets that may transfer automatically include rights of survivorship and beneficiary designation.
If wealth must be transferred through probate, court paperwork will need to be filed to commence the process. The last will and testament that was left by the deceased should specify who is to serve as the Personal Representative, or executor, of an estate. The court will appoint the Personal Representative officially, and this individual will have numerous responsibilities during probate, including making certain that all interested parties are notified, managing estate assets, and addressing tax issues.
The executor of an estate has the most responsibility during probate, and has a fiduciary duty to fulfill those responsibilities with reasonable care while acting in the best interests of the estate. It can be especially essential for the Personal Representative to be represented because of the many tasks to complete.
Also, as heirs or beneficiaries will need to monitor the probate process to ensure everything is going smoothly, and respond if there is a problem with the executor or other issues that arise. The heirs or beneficiaries want to protect their inheritance. Therefore, it is important to have legal guidance through the estate administration to help avoid potential issues that may arise in making estate decisions.
It is never easy to handle a death, or even necessarily expected when it does occur. Stepping into the deceased’s shoes to manage their affairs and assets can be daunting and confusing. Sinclair Prosser Gasior be able to guide you through the process to ensure the estate administration is handled efficiently while bringing comfort during a difficult time.