The duties of an executor can be quite extensive, and that job is made more difficult by missing or lost information. As an executor, a person is responsible for sorting out the finances of the person who passed. They will pay debts and taxes and what remains is distributed to the heirs properly. There are many tasks at hand that involve a lot of information, as mentioned in my previous blog, but here, I want to discuss the information that executors need the most that is often missing.
Where to find the original will
When opening an estate, it is necessary to possess the original will. Sometimes the attorney may have the will on file, or it may be in a safe deposit box. It could also be filed in the house with the rest of the estate documents. If it’s in a safe deposit box, the executor’s name needs to be on the account. Otherwise, they will not be able to access the box to obtain the will and open the estate. LegalZoom shares some insight on who should keep your will, or at least, who should know where it is.
What bills to pay
It’s very important to make a list of what bills to pay, and how they get paid. Are they on auto pay from your checking, savings or a credit card? Do you receive the bill via e-mail or US mail? You don’t want to miss insurance payments, and especially credit cards where late fees and interest will be applied. Making sure bills are paid on time saves the executor from additional stress and helps the money of the estate last longer.
How many bank accounts and investments there are
Many people have several different checking or savings accounts for various reasons. Sometimes people forget about their different accounts and statements are not coming in the mail, making it difficult for the executor to account for all the monies. If the estate is closed and more monies are found, it is necessary to reopen the estate, and there are charges associated with that.
In today’s world, we have passwords for everything from our cell phone to bank accounts and everything in between. If any of the decedent’s bills are accessed only via e-mail, and you can’t get into the email account, there is no way of knowing what bills need to be paid. To eliminate paper, many young people only have computer files, and if their computer is password protected, you have no way of retrieving important information and documents. In the world of technology that we are all using, it is of utmost importance to have a list of passwords kept either manually or in a password keeping software.
There are ways available to be sure all the information your executor will need is kept in a safe and easily accessible place. The LifeBook, to name one. However, if you find yourself in the position of being an executor or personal representative and don’t know where to begin, please let My Confidant help. I have many years of experience in this field and know the typical places to find information to ease the burden of the process for you. Contact me today, and we can discuss your situation and how I can best assist.