When a member of your family or a close friend dies, with or without a will, you should probably consult with an attorney for guidance and assistance in administering the estate.
- The first step is to locate and secure the most recent will or declaration of trust. The attorney who prepared it can explain whether or not probate will be necessary.
- The second step is to secure and inventory the assets. You may need assistance or advice on how and when to distribute or dispose of the things that belonged to the decedent (the person who died), how to handle pending claims or litigation, and how to deal with family members who want immediate possession of certain items.
- The third step is to identify all potential claims and debts. This is critical to the proper administration of an estate, whether probate is involved or not.
- The final step is to distribute the assets to the claim holders, heirs, legatees (people who received a gift in a will), or beneficiaries (people who received a gift in a trust).
It is important that the executor, administrator, or trustee is trustworthy, organized, and diligent. Depending on the planning done by the decedent (the person who died) and the size and complexity of his or her estate, the job can be simple or it can be a long, difficult process.
Consulting with an attorney from the very beginning and cooperating with an attorney throughout the process of the administration of the estate will help the executor, administrator, trustee, heirs, legatees, and beneficiaries confidently carry out the wishes of their loved one who has died without making costly mistakes.
Call The Law Office of Joni Beth Bailey today for advice if you have been named as executor of a will or you are the survivor of a loved one or relative who has recently died.