The death of a close family member is usually a time full of grief for the entire family. Along with that grief, however, there are a number of practical considerations that must be addressed as well when anyone dies, including the probate of the decedent’s estate. What happens if you just found out you are the Executor of your recently deceased grandfather’s estate? Although every estate is unique, there are some steps that most Executors need to take as soon as possible after the death of the estate owner.
- Decide if you wish to accept the appointment. Just because your grandfather appointed you to be the Executor of his estate does not mean you are required to serve in the position. If you decline the appointment, the court will have to appoint someone else to serve.
- Secure estate assets. If you decide to accept the position as Executor, the next thing you need to do is to secure all assets owned by the decedent at the time of death. This may include anything from simply closing a bank account to changing the locks on a vacation house.
- Consult with an estate planning attorney. As Executor, making a mistake can cost the estate both in terms of time and money. For this reason, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney early on.
- Review estate planning documents. Go over the decedent’s Last Will and Testament, in this case your grandfather’s, along with any other estate planning documents left behind as part of the estate plan. Though the documents can vary significantly, they may include a trust agreement, life insurance policies, and/or a Letter of Instructions.
- Open probate. Unless the estate is particularly small you will need to go through formal probate. To get started, you will need to prepare and file the necessary documents, with the appropriate court.
If you have been named as the Executor of an estate for someone who recently died, it is important to get started with the probate process as soon as possible. To avoid making costly mistakes, contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.