What Should I Do to Settle an Estate?

Settle an estate
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It is no small task to settle an estate plan?

Your loved one recently died.

You have not only lost your loved one.

You are also at a loss for what to do next.

All you feel capable of?

Deeply missing your loved one.

According to a recent Cleveland Jewish News article titled “Funeral arrangements, estate planning take education,” you may not have the luxury of inaction.

It is easier to settle an organized estate.
An executor should quickly begin taking steps to settle an estate after the death of the decedent.

Certain actions and tasks are time sensitive after the death of someone you love.

Funeral arrangements are at the top of this list.

If your loved one did not make a plan before he or she died, you will have to do so.

Arranging a funeral involves choosing a casket, cemetery, and funeral home.

Alternatively, was there a desire expressed for cremation?

You also will need to choose an order of service in a short amount of time.

After the funeral, you must take action to settle the estate.

If your loved one had a last will and testament or a trust the process will be simpler.

Both are used to provide for the orderly administration of the estate (e.g., paying just debts, taxes, and expenses) and the distribution of assets as directed.

If your loved one used both, he or she retained greater control of asset distribution.

If you are the executor or trustee chosen to carry out an an estate plan, it is helpful to know the differences between a last will and testament and a fully-funded revocable living trust.

A last will and testament must be filed with the probate court and then administered under court supervision.

A fully-funded revocable trust will bypass probate.

Instead, the trustee will make distributions according to the terms outlined in the trust.

A testamentary trust, on the other hand, is created under a last will and testament to administer assets for beneficiaries per its written instructions.

Organizing the documents and assets meticulously is important when you settle an estate, whether through probate or independent of probate.

By reviewing a single asset at a time, it will be easier to identify beneficiary designations and the titling of the assets.

Ideally, your loved ones would have organized documents and provided detailed lists and information regarding their assets, documents, and professional advisors.

These actions simplify the role of the executor and the trustee.

You do not need to know all financial details prior to the death of your loved one, but organization and general explanations can help you better settle an estate plan in the midst of grieving.

Reference: Cleveland Jewish News (June 22, 2021) “Funeral arrangements, estate planning take education”

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