3 Tips for the Overwhelmed Personal Representative
While it is an honor to be named as personal representative (executor) of a will or estate, it can also be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being a personal representative requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet all responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled. If you’ve found yourself in the position of “Overwhelmed Personal Representative,” here are some tips to lighten the load.
3 Strategies for Maintaining Your Sanity as a Personal Representative
Get professional help from an experienced probate attorney.
The caveat to being a personal representative/executor is that once you accept the responsibility, you also accept the liability if something goes wrong. To protect yourself and make sure you’re crossing all the “t’s” and dotting all the “i’s,” consider hiring an experienced probate attorney at the beginning. Having a legal professional in your corner not only helps you avoid pitfalls and blind spots, but it will also give you greater peace of mind during the process.
One of the biggest reasons for feeling overwhelmed as a personal representative is the avalanche of information and documents that inundate a personal representative from all directions. Proper organization can help you conquer this problem and regain control. An experience attorney can help advise you on what to do at each juncture; but in general, you’ll need to gather several pieces of important paperwork to get started. It’s a good idea to create a file or binder so you can keep track of the original estate planning documents (death certificates, bills, financial statements, insurance policies, and contact information of beneficiaries). Bringing all of this information to your first meeting will be a great start.
Establish lines of communication.
As a personal representative, you are effectively a liaison between multiple parties related to the estate: namely, the courts, the creditors, the IRS, and the heirs. Create and maintain an up-to-date list of everyone’s contact information. You’ll also want to retain records, such as copies of correspondence or notes about phone calls for all the contact you make as personal representative. Open and honest communication helps keeps the process flowing smoothly and reduces the risk of disputes. It’s worth repeating because it’s so important — keep records of all communications, so you can always recall what was said to whom.
If you have been appointed as a personal representative/executor of an estate, and you are feeling overwhelmed, McDonald Law Firm can provide skilled counsel and advice to help you through the process. We can also help you create your own estate plan, so your family can avoid the stress of probate. Give our office a call today at (443) 741-1088 to schedule a free no obligation consultation with Andre O. McDonald, a knowledgeable Howard County probate and estate planning attorney.
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION POSTED ON THIS BLOG IS INTENDED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO CONVEY LEGAL ADVICE.