Having the task of settling a loved one’s estate is a big, and often thankless, job. You already are dealing with grief from losing someone close to you, maybe your mom or dad. Now, you are their designated personal representative and you don’t know the probate process well.
What to expect
Here are some of the responsibilities personal representatives need to handle as part of the probate process:
- You need to locate your loved one’s original will to submit it to the court for probate.
- You need to obtain several death certificates to begin to manage your loved one’s finances.
- You should hire an estate planning attorney to help you file the will with the probate court and deal with any legal issues that arise while settling the estate.
- You need to track the filing fee and initial legal expenses of filing probate. Your expenses for initiating probate for your loved one’s estate can be deducted from their assets.
- You should cancel your loved one’s credit cards.
- You want to review your loved one’s financial information and pay any creditors they may owe.
- You then can begin distributing your loved one’s assets to beneficiaries. You want to send a full accounting of how many assets you’re loved one had and how you distributed them to beneficiaries too.
- You should save some of your beneficiaries’ assets to pay their final taxes and then consider paying yourself a commission for being the estate’s personal representative.
- Finally, you submit a final inventory of your loved one’s estate and asset distribution to the court.
Being a personal representative can feel overwhelming and frustrating. It likely will take you several months to settle your loved one’s estate. Yet, you need to keep the end goal in mind: distributing your loved one’s assets as they intended and honoring their legacy with your diligent work.