Estate Planning Lawyers in Jacksonville Helping Executors
If you’ve been named the executor of a loved one’s will, you may be feeling bewildered and overwhelmed. What are your duties as an executor, and how do you go about carrying them out? Here are some things you can expect to happen and duties you will be responsible for if you have been named the executor.
First Steps to Take
Your first steps as an executor are to make those arrangements that are necessary immediately in the wake of your loved one’s death. Make sure his or her landlord and employer are made aware of the death. Locate his or her will, memoranda, and any other estate planning documents. Look in the deceased’s filing cabinets, home safe, or safe deposit box – and check with his or her estate attorney.
Get copies of the death certificate. Make sure you get plenty since you may need to provide them to many persons or organizations. Make funeral arrangements. Notify beneficiaries listed in the will of their interests in the estate. File the probate application.
Secure the Assets
As an executor, it’s your responsibility to make sure the deceased’s assets find their way to those beneficiaries named in the will. Inventory the person’s assets and liabilities. Search for insurance policies, cash, jewelry, securities, and other valuables; and once they’ve been inventoried, put them somewhere safe.
The inventory should include the deceased’s bank accounts, mortgages, investments, and loans, as well as account numbers and institutions. These institutions will need to be notified of the death. Make arrangements to view and inventory the contents of any safe deposit boxes.
Verify insurance coverage on any assets and notify the insurers of the death. If the deceased’s place of residence is no longer occupied, lock it up. Advise the Social Security Administration and any employer-sponsored pension plans of the person’s death.
Identify any business assets and documents, and begin making arrangements for someone else to continue running the deceased’s business, if there was one. Redirect his or her mail.
Manage the Estate
You’ll need to open bank accounts for the estate and transfer balances from the dead person’s bank accounts into these accounts. Submit claims for death benefits to Social Security, life insurance, and pensions. Transfer titles to your own name as executor; and advise joint tenants of the deceased’s death.
If the will directs the establishment of trusts, you’ll need to set these up. You’ll also be responsible for paying the deceased’s debts, including taxes. Because you may be vulnerable to personal liability if the estate is managed improperly, it is always best to hire an estate attorney to guide you through the process.
Contact the Attorneys of Beller & Bustamante, P.L., Today
If you have lost a loved one, we understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family. It can become even more overwhelming if you have been named the executor and are unsure of how to move forward.
The attorneys at Beller & Bustamante, P.L., have the knowledge and experience you need on your side to navigate situations like these. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 904-288-4414 or use our online contact form to set up an appointment.