3 Tips When You're The Executor Of Your Parent's Estate

Posted on: 20 July 2016


Being the executor of your parent's estate is a huge responsibility, especially since managing the logistics of the estate often happens when you are also coping with grief from the loss of your parent. Just keep in mind that your parent trusted you to manage their estate with integrity and responsibility because they knew you could do it. Here are three tips to get you started:

Hire a Probate Attorney

You may think that managing your parent's estate is as simple as paying creditors and then distributing the remaining money to beneficiaries, but estate law is actually much more complicated than that. A probate attorney knows the exact order and timelines to adhere to when filing documents and completing steps of the probate process. They offer you protection from unscrupulous creditors or aggressive relatives and help you avoid tax penalties, handling all the tricky aspects of your parent's estate for you from start to finish.

Get Several Copies of the Death Certificate

As the executor of your parent's estate, you (or your probate attorney) will need to send original copies of your parent's death certificate to many interested parties. This can include credit card companies, the Social Security Association if your parent was receiving social security benefits, your parent's cell phone and cable companies in order to close their accounts, and their life insurance company if they had a policy.

It's best to make a list of everyone who may need their own copy, and then add a few extra to that number when requesting the death certificates from your parent's doctor or the coroner.

Avoid Interpersonal Conflicts with Beneficiaries

No matter how close you are with your siblings, nieces and nephews, and other beneficiaries of the estate, money tends to drive a wedge between people. During a time of grief when emotions are heightened, misunderstandings about how the estate is being settled can easily turn into huge conflicts and feuds. This is another benefit of hiring a probate attorney- instead of being dragged into emotional arguments, you can stay neutral and simply direct your family members to send questions to your lawyer.

If you've been assigned as the executor of your parent's estate, following these tips can help eliminate a great deal of stress from the process. To get started, ask for a consultation with a qualified probate attorney, like one from Leon J Teichner & Associates, P.C., as soon as you learn you are the executor of the estate.