Executing an estate can be challenging, especially if you have never done it before. There’s a lot to do and a lot to learn.
While you can receive some compensation for your time, you only have so much time in the day. So the longer it takes to execute the estate, the greater the effect on your life is likely to be. Time spent sorting things out is time you are not working, playing with your kids or pursuing your hobbies.
It’s in everyone’s best interest to be efficient
The beneficiaries of the estate will not want to wait any longer than necessary to receive their inheritance. Any of the deceased’s creditors able to claim repayment will also prefer getting their money sooner. So, what can you do to speed things up for everyone?
1. Ensure you have a complete list of assets
You may need to do some investigating to find the decedent’s assets. This is a central job for an executor or administrator. In some cases you may need to hire a private investigator to try to locate a decedent’s assets. An accountant may also be able to help locate assets by looking at past tax returns the decedent filed.
2. Make sure that the probate referee (and possibly you) values everything correctly
The court will assign a probate referee whose job it is to appraise real property. However, the probate referee’s job is to value property at the “date of death value.” This could leave you with an appraisal or real property that is stale, especially if the decedent died several years ago. In such cases, if you are not going to sell the assets, you will probably need to get a re-appraisal of estate assets so that you can determine which assets go to which beneficiaries so that everyone gets their due share of the estate property.
3. Get legal help for the process
Yes, you took on the responsibility of executing the estate, but that does not mean you cannot seek help to fulfill your role. What’s more, the estate (not you) pays for the legal fees. Experienced legal guidance is the best way to ensure you execute the estate as quickly and efficiently as possible, for the good of everyone. It should also reassure interested parties that everything is being done according to the law.