5 Estate Administration Tips To Save You a Headache
The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult challenges for people to tackle, for both emotional and practical reasons. One of the biggest stressors for everyone will be surrounding the estate plan. Even though for most plans you will probably have the benefit of time, it’s understandable (and wise) to start the process of properly examining and acting on the estate administration as soon as your are able. Even with proper preparation, many people can still be left in a lurch when it comes time to execute on a loved one’s planning. With that in mind, here’s a few tips we think you may find helpful!
- You may need to go to court, but you’ll know for sure well in advance: Probate avoidance should be a cornerstone of any modern estate plan. In addition to avoiding massive court and attorney fees, it also can spare a family hours and hours in court. However, with proper planning it’s easy to skip the time in court. Situation pending, even without this planning you still may not have to go to court yourself! You’ll still have to pay the court fees though, so it’s better to plan the right way when you can!
- Power of Attorney ends upon the death of the individual: It’s a common misconception that a Power of Attorney (POA) grants perpetual access to a person’s assets, this simply isn’t the case. POA documentation ends when the individual passes away. Actions taken using a POA after a person dies (such as making a withdraw from a bank account) could be considered fraud, even when done by accident.
- Even if you are mentioned in the planning, you may not be able to act on it: No matter what kind of plan you have, unless you are named as an executor/executrix or a trustee, you will likely have very limited access to information about the goings on of probate while it’s happening. Only those named in the above listed positions will legally have access to the full scope of the plan once the individual has passed away. This can be made even more frustrating by the fact that…
- It takes time: In most cases, an estate will need to be opened for six months or more in the court system before distributions can start. This is to allow for any creditors to make claims against the estate. This is an unavoidable step, even if the decedent had no known debt.
- Keep An Eye Out: Even if you aren’t the executor, you may still have something to do! As an estate is being processed through probate court, beneficiaries may receive notices through the mail. The best way to make sure you see it is to make sure you are opening EVERYTHING that’s coming to you, even if it looks like junk mail.
Bonus Tip: Don’t do this alone! While it is certainly possible to manage an estate administration without legal help, it’s far from recommended. Court paperwork is complicated, and can get very expensive If done improperly. If you have any questions about an Ohio based estate you are working with, or are worried about opening one in the near future, give us a call today at 419-352-7522!
Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. This article is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from a licensed attorney