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Basic Pointers on Estate Planning

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Most people realize that a will is vital, but not all understand how integral it is to choose the best executor to help them supervise their affairs and distribute their assets to chosen inheritors upon their demise. Settling on the most competent executor will help ensure their loved ones will get their part of the estate promptly. Getting the wrong executor however, could result in tax issues, long delays, and even the will being questioned.

Keep reading to learn the fundamentals of estate planning and know what happens to your estate and what is expected of your executor of will when you pass on.

The Estate is Opened

To formally open the estate and begin the process of figuring out if the will is legitimate and valid, the appointed executor will submit the essential papers to the probate court. The documents should also indicate the State where he/she is appointed as executor and will be speaking in behalf of the estate. The executor will be the person to advise creditors including concerned government and private institutions of your demise.

Various probate courts would require certified letters to be given to your creditors. Others require a notice to be distributed in the local papers. However the case may be, it's the executor's role (with some assistance from the court) to name these creditors and advise them properly. It's quite common for oversights in notification to result in lawsuits from heirs, creditors, and beneficiaries. Therefore, it is only rational to choose a reliable individual for the job.

Collecting Assets

The executor is expected to make an actual assets inventory of the departed. This should also include making a list of brokerage, retirement, bank accounts, and any property possessed by the deceased. In addition, a precise inventory of the deceased's belongings like valuable collections, antique, jewelry, and other valuables must be made and given to the probate court for assessment.

This is undoubtedly an extremely difficult and time consuming job. This also includes would analyzing the deceased's documents for relevant information, interviewing heirs, checking ownership documents from the town hall. As mentioned earlier, the information has to be complete and precise to make certain that heirs receive what is due them in a timely manner.

Taking care of the Estate

It's the executor's duty to manage the deceased's credits at the time his/her of death. It is also the executor's responsibility to collect any amount of money that is meant for the deceased. This is necessary as the money collected will then be allocated to the heirs as directed in the will. This just suggests that appointing an expert, business-savvy executor is necessary.

Taking care of Taxes

The executor is also required to get an attorney or accountant who will determine any due standing estate taxes, and consequently file the appropriate tax return for payment. This is to make sure that taxes on income earned on the deceased's last year is paid, and/or get any due refunds that will be handed down to the heirs. It can't be stressed enough that a disciplined, organized, and intelligent individual is important in performing these important estate administration duties.

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