Executing a Will with LA Probate Law
Sooner or later it may become time for you to have to execute a Will for a deceased loved one. You have never done it before and do not know what to do. You have learned that it is a very responsible position and you want to do it correctly. An Executor of an estate is the person appointed by a Will to handle the final affairs of the deceased and disperse their assets to the individuals chosen as beneficiaries by the deceased. It is important that you realize that you will be held accountable under law for whatever you do with the possessions of the deceased, and for failure to perform some specific duties, too. You have been chosen by the deceased because they esteemed you to be a responsible person. At the end of the task, you will need to report on the dispersal of those goods – and have receipts for the goods, too. A lot of questions can arise that you may want to consult an attorney for and LA Probate Law is there to help you each step of the way.
Executing a Will – the First Steps
Before you do anything with the property, you will need to take the death certificate to the court, and the Will, and have notified heirs and other relatives of the death, as well as creditors. Then, the will is going to need to be validated, which may require the testimony of the witnesses. The next step is for the court to wait and see if the Will is going to be contested. Time will be given for this, and if there is no contest, or if all contests are defeated, you will be given a Grant of Probate. This document means that you have been given authority to start carrying out the dispersal of the estate. If, on the other hand, there is no Will, or if it is successfully contested, then the state will determine how the assets are to be distributed and will appoint an administrator to distribute the assets. If you should have any questions about the duties and responsibilities of being an Executor, Scott Schomer at LA Probate Law is ready to provide any legal assistance you may need.
Being Appointed as the Executor
The court will also approve or disapprove of you as the Executor of the Will. You may get paid for performing services in relation to the carrying out of the Will. The Will itself may indicate the amount, or allow provisions for this, or the Executor may need to petition the Court to be paid out of the estate. Your first step after being appointed will be to take an inventory of the items in the estate. Property that is held as a joint partner does not come under the estate controlled by the Will. Once this has been completed, the next step is to open an account for liquid assets, out of which all debts will be paid, and money distributed. This will make accounting easier, enable you to prove fidelity, and to create receipts for cash paid out from the canceled checks. LA Probate Law can help you with legal tips on how to set up these accounts and other issues.
The Responsibilities of an Executor
The Executor or administrator is also responsible to ensure the security of the property in the Will. They also must maintain any property and businesses or investments, too. Insurance will have to be maintained where applicable. Funeral expenses will need to be taken care of from the estate, and taxes have to be paid, and this includes personal income tax and property taxes. It is important that investments and businesses are making a profit, and that the business continues to run smoothly. The debts will need to be paid out of the estate, and it may be necessary to sell off property and real estate to pay these debts. The attorneys at LA Probate Law will also have to be paid out of the estate for their services, and this is usually a percentage of the estate, which is set by law. A very important thing to remember is that estate taxes must be paid within nine months after the death. In most cases, the estate will not have been settled by that time. Ideally, money should be set aside in advance for this need, as well as maintenance costs for the family, but this may not be the case.
Advice on Paying the Estate’s Bills
Some items will not need to be handled by you because they may not come under the control of the estate. Assets that are put into a trust will go there immediately after the Will is approved, and things like life insurance policies may be designated to go into a trust as well. If this designation is through the Will, and the Will is negated, then it all goes into the estate. You are also responsible to pay all the bills owed by the estate of the deceased. If they are not paid, it is possible that you may be held responsible to pay them on your own. This is why it is important to be sure to pay them first, before dispersing any of the goods to the beneficiaries. Executing a Will does have a lot of responsibilities that might go with it. This is especially true if the estate is rather large, or complex. Scott Schomer at LA Probate Law can help you with any questions you have or help you through the process. It is not unusual that you might come up against situations where you do not know what to do. We are here to help you perform this much needed task successfully.