You may consider yourself someone who handles stressful situations well. As a result, you may not have hesitated before you agreed to act as the executor of your loved one's estate. In fact, you possibly felt honored that he or she trusted you with such an important task.
Of course, even though you have a zeal for handling important matters, you still need to understand that probate proceedings are complex, and that you will have many tasks to carry out in order to close the estate while also handling your own job and personal life. Certainly, you want to obtain as much information about the process ahead of you as possible.
The tasks of settling an estate
While juggling so many matters at once, it is easy for individuals to get overwhelmed even if, like you, they handle stressful situations well. In efforts to combat these feelings, creating a schedule for addressing the necessary probate matters can help the process go more smoothly. Of course, you may not be able to schedule each task yourself because you will likely have to wait on responses from beneficiaries and adhere to court schedules, which you cannot control.
When it comes to completing the probate process, you will likely be tasked with the following duties:
- Gathering, managing and protecting estate assets
- Informing beneficiaries that they have interests in the estate
- Filing the will with the court in order to have it validated and to open probate
- Filing for Social Security, veteran benefits or other applicable benefits
- Listing the expenses of the estate
- Listing the claims against the estate and closing those claims when the time comes
- Inventorying all real assets and intangible ones
- Collecting unpaid benefits, insurance and salary owed to the estate
- Filing final tax returns and ensuring that any owed taxes are paid
- Distributing assets to named beneficiaries and other applicable parties
While these tasks may seem straightforward, they can be more complicated than imagined. Additionally, probate can often take more time than many people think it will. Therefore, you may want to accept that you could face a long journey to ensure that your loved one's final wishes are followed and final affairs properly settled. Fortunately, you do not have to complete this process alone as an experienced Iowa attorney can help you understand your duties, when to complete them and how to help the process go smoothly.