Serving as executor of a loved one’s estate is a more difficult job than most people realize. There’s the paperwork, finding an attorney to help with the probate process, following through with the requests in your loved one’s will, paying bills — the list goes on and on.
To help streamline the process, you can refer to the many online guides and checklists out there (or you could always consult with your attorney, who will bill you for the time). Even so, you should consider picking up a copy of the latest edition of the American Bar Association’s “Guide to Will and Estates,” because, as Paula Spin writes in a post for The New York Times’ New Old Age blog, anyone in charge of settling an estate should expect things to be 30 percent more complicated than initially planned.
Spin notes the A.B.A. guide is “written with surprising clarity” (quite a feat for a bunch of lawyers) and offers thorough explanations to common scenarios like divvying up property and real estate between heirs and how to best deal with taxes and trusts. Since you’ll likely be working with an estate lawyer to get things settled, the A.B.A.’s guide will help you better understand what exactly is going on throughout the entire process. And, as many of us have experienced when a loved one’s affairs and assets were disorganized at the end of his or her life, the guide will help you to prioritize getting your own estate in order, something your likely unprepared heirs will certainly appreciate.
You can pick up a copy of the American Bar Association’s “Guide to Will and Estates” at your local bookstore or order it online via Amazon.com.
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