Essential Checklist for Estate Executors

March 21, 2016 Posted In Probate, Estate, & Trust Administration,Wills
by Colorado Estate Matters

Essential Checklist for Estate Executors

Essential Checklist for Estate Executors

The death of a loved one can be a great loss. For those who are named as executors of the estate however, the death can mean that it’s time to get to work carrying out the loved one’s final wishes and getting the estate settled.

Because there can be a lot to do after a loved one passes away, the following is a helpful checklist executors can use to get started. For professional advice and/or experienced help along the way, don’t hesitate to contact a trusted Denver estate planning lawyer at Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd.

  • Inform the loved ones of the death – And consider delegating at least part of this responsibility to other family members, if possible, so you can move on with your check list.
  • Make immediate arrangements for any children and/or pets left behind – If the death has resulted in minor children and/or pets being left without any guardianship or care for the interim, make plans to have both of these parties cared for temporarily until the decedent’s wishes can be determined and carried out.
  • Locate the funeral plans and/or will – First and foremost, look for funeral and burial plans so you can start taking action to have those carried out. Then, track down the will. If the decedent never specifically informed you about where to locate these documents, some places to start looking can include (but may not be limited to):
    • A safe or safety deposit box
    • Computer/electronic files
    • An attorney’s office
    • The local courthouse.
  • Obtain copies of the death certificate – It’s generally recommended that executors get at least 15 or so copies of the death certificate, as they will need to be distributed to various institutions to verify the death and empower the executor to settle the estate. There is generally a cost for the death certificates.
  • Notify banks and other agencies of the death – Part of this step may require sending a notification of the death to the Social Security Administration (if the decedent was collecting retirement, SSI and/or federal disability benefits); the U.S. Postal Service (to have all mail for the decedent forwarded to the executor); the Department of Veterans Affairs (if the decedent was collecting veterans’ benefits); etc.
  • Consult a lawyer – At this point, the next best steps to take to get the estate settled will depend on a number of factors, including whether a valid will has been left behind, whether probate is necessary, whether relatives may be planning to stage will contest, etc. By consulting an attorney, you can find out what you need to do next to efficiently settle the estate and finish carrying out your loved one’s final wishes.

Contact a Denver Estate Planning Attorney at Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd.

For experienced help developing or administering an estate plan, you can turn to the estate planning attorney at Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning, elder law and other legal needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them.

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