Managing an estate as the executor

Some people may hire a professional when appointing an estate executor, but others prefer to name a trusted family member or friend. The executor of an estate is responsible for protecting the assets of a deceased person until the assets can be distributed. Here are some tips for Florida residents when serving as an executor.

The executor of an estate needs to get an appropriate number of death certificates from a funeral home. Death certificates are needed for notifying investment firms, life insurers, banks and more. It is a good idea to get twice as many certificates as one thinks are needed. One should notify the Social Security Administration in a timely manner if the deceased person was receiving benefits so that Social Security payments are stopped. It can cause unnecessary hassle to have to pay back those benefits.

If an executor knows in advance that they've been named to watch over an estate, they can ask the grantor to prepare a detailed list of assets and paperwork that the executor can have after the grantor passes. The list should also include where to find any assets and documentation that goes with them. If a list like this is not ready for the executor, this person can ask the attorney who prepared the decedent's will for a list of assets.

The process of distributing assets can vary based on estate planning and probate. For example, some people only have wills while others establish trusts. It typically takes longer to distribute assets with a will as the estate must go through the probate process. Living trusts are often able to bypass probate. However, trusts cost money to create and must follow state and federal guidelines. One may wish to consult an attorney when assessing the tools one wants to use.

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Rachel Rall, Attorney at Law, P.A.
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