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The Challenges of Being an Executor

Wills-trust-estates-bank-beneficiary-trust-trusteesDealing with the grief of losing a loved one and the added stress of serving as the person’s executor can be a difficult experience. Bringing in professional help can lighten the load, especially for legal and financial issues.

Being named to the position of executor for a loved one is both flattering and terrifying. Unless you have done it before, you’ll need some pointers, which are provided in’s article, “Seven tips for getting the job done as smoothly as possible.”

  1. Take adequate time to grieve. In many instances, you’ll be named as executor of the estate of a family member or close friend. It is important to remember that, although there will be things that need to be done immediately, you’ll also have time to take a breath, mourn, and make it through the first few weeks after the death without worrying about all the executor tasks that lie ahead.
  2. Ask for help. Settling an estate can be confusing, with all of the complicated documents and the probate court process. You really shouldn’t tackle this process by yourself. It is helpful to work with an experienced attorney. Estate funds can be used to pay their fees, and remember that the executor manages the process and may call upon professionals to help.
  3. Keep everything organized. Make a list of things that need to be done, and once they’re finished, place your notes and documentation in a filing system. Get in the habit of making notes whenever you correspond with someone regarding the estate.
  4. Communicate with beneficiaries. These people have a vested interest in settling an estate. Communicate with them often and put them at ease about the progress.
  5. Take care of yourself. In addition to the stress of being executor, you may need to deal with the stress of the loss. Grief and sadness can remain for a long time. Be sure to not forget to take care of yourself.
  6. Everything doesn’t have to be done at once. It usually takes a year to settle an estate, so don’t put pressure on yourself to complete the project faster … even if you’re getting pressured by beneficiaries to hurry up and give them their share of assets.
  7. If possible, discuss the person’s wishes and get details while they are living. If possible, talk with the person about details, such as where the will is located, what type of funeral they want, contact info for their estate planning attorney, CPA and financial advisor, as well as any asset lists and account numbers.

There’s no way to make this a stress-free assignment, but these guidelines will help, as will the counsel of trusted professionals.

Reference: (December 2, 2016) “Seven tips for getting the job done as smoothly as possible”

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