Estate Settlement Attorney
As someone who may have been chosen as executor of an estate for someone who passed away, you may be going through a difficult time emotionally yourself, while also having to handle the details of settling someone’s estate. You were likely appointed as executor because the person who passed away trusted you to handle their last wishes and affairs. But with this role comes the added weight of not just a legal matter, but your grieving as well. Losing someone you cherish is one of the most heart-wrenching things everyone will go through. The overwhelming sadness can make it feel impossible to handle this task alone, which is why many executors turn to an attorney for added support, similar to the team at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC.
Grief is something that just doesn’t go away as quickly as we may want it to. And it can’t be ignored even if you have a long to-do list as an executor. You may find that you have to perform tasks alongside your grief, since grieving doesn’t have an exact timeline for when it ends. It doesn’t just diminish because someone thinks it should, it remains until the heart decides it can heal over the ache, which may never recede entirely. As an estate settlement attorney offers, if your grief erupts while fulfilling your role as executor, don’t forget that there are dedicated professionals who can help.
In fact, you really shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help, especially during such a troublesome period. You may be inclined to recluse and draw yourself inward, and avoid interactions with the people around you. But those who care about you can be impactful during your grieving process. The first step to take as executor is to get organized and ask for help from the start. Create a list of your executor duties and consider recruiting assistance from others. Handling the distribution of someone’s assets and closing their estate will come along with various tasks that must be done, and it can lighten the burden if you aren’t the only one doing them. Here are examples of duties that an executor of an estate will have to perform:
- Communicate with beneficiaries and family members as needed
- Locate the will if there is one written
- Obtain a copy of birth certificate and death certificate
- Assess if the estate needs to undergo probate
- Submit the will to probate court
- Notify social security and creditors about the person’s passing
- Open a bank account to receive funds or pay bills related to the estate
- Inventory, appraise, and potentially sell the estate property
- Pay the deceased’s taxes and debts from the estate
- Divide and distribute assets as instructed in will or based on state law
It is an honor to be an executor, but can still come along with many emotions. Managing your grief as an executor of someone’s estate can feel like too much to bear alone, but don’t forget that you can lean on trusted friends, family, and estate planning professionals to get you through.