Being required to execute someone’s estate can seem overwhelming. You may have agreed to it years ago, thinking you would work out what to do when the time came. Now that it has, you need to learn fast.
Here are a few questions you might have:
What is probate?
Probate is a court process to check you carry out the deceased’s wishes according to their will and applicable laws. You could see it as a fastidious burden or take it as a court providing you with guidance. They can spot any errors you make and add transparency to the process to reduce the possibility that anyone accuses you of altering things.
Not all assets go through probate. Many people use trusts, beneficiary designations and other planning tools to enable specific assets to skip probate and get into the hands of the correct people quicker.
How long is this going to take?
It is not something you will work on full time. There will be periods when you can do nothing but wait for people’s replies or for specific time allowances the law stipulates to pass. Bank on it being anywhere a few months and a year. If anyone were to challenge the will, or if the estate is incredibly complex, it could take even longer.
Do I get paid for this?
State law stipulates how much you can claim from the estate for your role. Whether you take it or not is up to you.
Do I have to work it all out on my own?
No, and you should not try to either. Getting things wrong could cause problems for you and anyone due to inherit. The best option for everyone is to seek legal help to ensure you execute the estate correctly and efficiently.