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How to Save While Making an Estate Claim

Posted:  Aug 5, 2019

Settling the will and estate of a deceased person can be a completely overwhelming undertaking. Dealing with intimidating, and somewhat incomprehensible legalese in addition to grieving a lost loved one, can give anyone a headache.

However, you can keep on track and honour the one who chose you to be responsible for their estate by preparing. In order to reduce the worry of making an estate claim, knowing how to reduce costs can significantly reduce your stress load. 

  1. Know your responsibilities as Executor. You will be in charge of safeguarding the property left behind and will need to contact insurance companies. You will also need to make funeral arrangements, pay all incurred expenses, and pay debts and taxes owed. Next, you will be tasked with distributing the remains of the estate to the beneficiaries. Hiring a good lawyer will help you immensely and save money by avoiding costly mistakes and delays. 
  2. Take copious notes of all expenditures, set up files, and keep every receipt. Maintaining organized notes and files of debts and credits will make the process go much more smoothly and save money in lawyers fees by making their job easier. It also makes you accountable to beneficiaries and financial institutions. 
  3. Confirm the validity of the will with the assistance of a lawyer. This will prevent costly litigation later if someone questions anything.
  4. Order more death certificates than you think you’ll require. Banks, governments, and Veterans Affairs will require copies for filing papers, so avoid potential costly delays and order more upfront.
  5. Furthermore, the executor should locate and protect the assets of the deceased as soon as possible. This encompasses the will, insurance and investment documents and accounts, and real estate property and art or business possessions. Ideally, all the paperwork has been kept safe detailing the list of assets. But if it hasn’t, you need to be vigilant in protecting the interests of the deceased from unscrupulous claims or worse, relatives seizing possessions from the home.
  6. Seek professional assistance as soon as you have the will and other documents on hand. Administering an estate is complex and you should never do it alone. A lawyer can guide you to avoid expensive mistakes and advise you of further legal steps, in addition to help you answer questions from impatient beneficiaries. A tax professional will also assist you with the final tax return and other investment matters that occur.
  7. Pay all taxes and debts owed ahead of schedule to avoid interest charges.
  8. Don’t rush the process and overlook crucial legal steps—you could be found personally liable for debts owed. Avoid costly mistakes and take your time with the help of a professional. A lawyer can even mediate beneficiary disputes before they escalate into something expensive.

The role of Executor is an unenviably one. However, the burden of responsibility is considerably less if you remain meticulously organized. Armed with these guidelines, you can confidently move forward with the knowledge that you can get the job done and remain transparent to everyone concerned.  

 

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