When a loved one passes on, their friends and family are often left confused and heartbroken. Most families want the space and time to process. However, folks processing the loss of a loved one are also faced with the tedious, confusing process of estate administration. The heavy, detail-oriented process can be overwhelming to many people, especially within the midst of personal grief. Most families simply want the process to be as painless as possible. When going through the estate administration process, there’s some important information that families should know.
When probating one’s estate, it’s important to keep certain documents on hand. Most vitally, you should know where their original estate planning documents are, and if possible, you should keep copies (physical or digital) on hand. Having a certified copy of their death certificate will also be crucial. You’ll also want to track down a list of their account usernames and passwords – these can be for bank accounts, utility payment websites, social media websites, and more. In addition to these, you’ll want to have information about their assets (such as cash, bank accounts, and investments), debts and mortgages, credit cards they held, and other property such as vehicles. Having this information can be important, especially when paying off debts from your loved one’s estate and distributing assets.
Unless there is a Trust which holds all of a decedent’s assets, when someone dies, the most important bureaucratic step is a Petition to Probate the estate in Court. There are two types of Petitions to Probate, Formal and Informal, as well as a special process if the estate is under $25,000. It can be hard to tell which is the best option, so consulting an attorney or the Court website is always a good way to go.
When an estate is probated, the Court appoints someone as the Personal Representative (new word for executor). Becoming the Personal Representative of an estate gives someone the authority to handle the debts, assets, and properties of the decedent. The estate administration process goes smoother if the decedent had an estate plan, especially a will where a Personal Representative is named in advance.
Anyone who’s been through the estate administration process can attest that it can be difficult and strenuous. In addition to confusing court processes, an estate could get contested between family members, or problems with creditors could arise. Having lawyers by your side to take care of the technical details and any court documents can be a lifesaver, especially when processing personal grief during the estates process. Our experienced, devoted estate administration attorneys at DangerLaw are here to help you with the process. We’ll make the process for you as seamless as possible. If you’re going through the estate administration process and feeling stuck or confused, reach out to us for support.