Being left in charge of someone’s estate is not something that people are usually prepared for due to how sudden the occasion can be. But it is an important responsibility and giving it some forethought now can save you aggravation later.
Michael Pollock of the Wall Street Journal expands on what you should be considering. One thing the current estate holder can do before they pass to make things simpler for their heirs is to establish a trust.
A trust helps define what assets were set aside for who and can take out some of that confusion when it comes time for distribution.
Regardless, if you were left in charge of the estate you will need access to the death certificate and the will so you can take those documents to a court and be recognized as the deceased’s representative.
That doesn’t mean you will be handling everything yourself, but it does put you in the position of notifying others who are listed in the will.
You may find it helpful to hire an attorney to help with this process so a professional is there to ensure everything is carried out as intended.
The reality is that going through these legal avenues has a financial cost, so you also need to take into account that part of the estate needs to be set aside for those fees. The legal process can also be time-consuming, potentially lasting months or beyond.
Clear communication on what the timeline is can help alleviate frustration among other beneficiaries.
While nothing can make losing someone and having to sort through their belongings easy, proper preparation can lessen that burden. The worst thing you can do is put off the task and then be caught off guard suddenly and have to figure everything out in a rush.
For more thoughts that you should keep in mind when it comes to handling an estate, read the Wall Street Journal’s article here.
Want to know if you’re on the right path financially? Fred Hubler’s Second Opinion Service (SOS) is a no-obligation review with Creative Capital Wealth Management Group‘s Chief Wealth Strategist.