The vast majority of people who have been named as someone’s estate executor have never held the position before and have no idea what to do once their executor duties kick in following the death of a family member or friend. A quick Internet search on the duties of an estate executor can lead to panic, since the responsibilities can seem numerous and complex.
Learning the exact nature of your duties will take a little time and usually a helping hand from an experienced estate administration attorney. But before that learning process begins, here are three steps you should take immediately after the death of an estate owner:
1. Secure property. In the days following the death of a loved one, it can be surprising how many relatives simply help themselves to the property of the deceased. Maybe it was promised to them at some time, but now is not the time to take those treasures. Make it clear to family members that no property should be removed and reassure them that it will all be distributed in good time according to the decedent’s will and state law.
2. Don’t rush. You are fully entitled to take the time you need to grieve, so don’t worry about administering the estate right away. There may be some bills you have to pay, but those can usually wait a month or so. The only entity you need to notify right away of the estate owner’s death is the Social Security Administration, which must be informed within 30 days of the death.
3. Consult with an estate administration attorney. Unless you have prior estate administration experience, an attorney experienced in these matters will be of great help to you. Any fees for this service are paid by the estate and are usually far less than any potential costly errors you could make by not being fully informed on the estate administration process.
The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0041.