If you have ever been selected to serve as an Executor for someone’s will, you have an important responsibility to track down the deceased belongings as well as the Individual’s named in the will. Typically individuals tend to choose people in whom they trust. More commonly than not, people view this as an honor to fulfill their loved one’s final wishes. What people do not take into account is that handling an estate is a lot of hard work. Fortunately, you are entitled at the expense of the estate to retain an attorney, like a skilled Arlington estate planning lawyer from Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC, to guide you through the often-complicated Probate process.
People often ponder the question as to whether or not they should obtain an attorney to handle the Probate process. Even though many wills are fairly routine and simple, the disputes or complexed property issues that arise most definitely need a professional such as an attorney to assist throughout the process.
When a loved one has passed you are at a loss and need guidance. Majority of people contact an attorney to assist in probating an estate. The fact that all estates are different our Firm has gathered a general guide for Executors to assist by locating certain documents that will need to be presented in order to facilitate the Probate matter. The list is general in nature and is not to be construed as an all inclusive of the necessary steps for a particular estate.
Birth certificates (of deceased person, surviving spouse, and any minor children)
Brokerage account statements
Business co-ownership agreements
Child support documents
Credit card statements (these days, when people have many bills on autopay and use credit cards at the dentist’s office, the grocery store, and nearly everywhere else, a credit card statement can be a hugely important source of information)
Divorce papers (including property settlement agreements)
Health insurance policies
Immigration and citizenship documents
Life insurance policies and premium payment records
Marriage certificate (if you don’t have a copy, order one from the county where the wedding took place)
Military service records (branch, dates of service, discharge or “separation” papers)
Real estate deeds and tax records
Registration papers for vehicles or boats
Retirement account statements
Social Security records
Trust agreements or Last Will & Testament
W-2 form (showing wages for the most recent year)
Workers’ compensation paperwork
Medical bills, unpaid bills and Social Security Documents
Upon receipt of these documents the attorney is able to determine the value of the estate and the steps needed to facilitate the administration of the estate. These documents determine a road map or strategy for your estate and what needs to be administered. As the Executor, you have a fiduciary duty to administer and distribute the estate in accordance the Last Will and Testament. Therefore, if you have a full understanding of the accounts that you must administer, then you have a better opportunity of completing your Executorship effectively and accurately.