Managing an estate can be an overwhelming process. While creating your own estate planning documents now, your goals surely include minimizing your loved ones’ anguish and stress after you pass away. It is critically important to prepare the person you have appointed as your personal representative or executor for the role that they will play. This is because the emotional trauma that is generated by the death of a close family member is all too often accompanied by confusion about the legal and financial steps that survivors must take immediately.
For example, if the spouse who passed away was primarily responsible for all of the family’s finances, it can be overwhelming for the surviving spouse to figure out what to do next. Alternatively, if a child has been appointed as a personal representative of their parent’s estate, but the child was previously unaware of the appointment, the child may not know much about the estate itself. This lack of knowledge and preparation undoubtedly will cause a significant amount of wasted time and energy when they have to create the required “inventory” of the estate.
As you can imagine, the time demands of administering an estate, when not prepared to do so, can be problematic in light of the appointed personal representative’s other responsibilities in life, such as family and work obligations. It is important to also consider that administering an estate may require a personal representative to travel to the location of the estate assets. Traveling out of state or even to another part of the state to manage the closing out and handling of probate can be overwhelming.
For all of the above mentioned reasons, it is important to prepare your loved ones for how they will handle your estate administration. These tasks include:
- Securing tangible property
- Filing the will and petition in probate court
- Collecting assets associated with the estate
- Paying bills and taxes
- Scheduling a consultation with an experienced probate lawyer
Set aside time to speak with an experienced will and trust estate planning lawyer in MI so that you understand the steps you can take now to minimize your family’s challenges in the wake of their loss.