Your loved one passed and you find yourself the estate representative, I know you want someone to tell you what to do next. Here is the blog that is going to do just that. Take a deep breath, calm your mind.
What is an estate representative?
It depends upon whether or not there is a will. An estate representative is an executor if your loved one died with a will. If there is no will and the estate is large, the court appoints an estate representative, commonly called an administrator. The court uses a list provided in California Probate Code Section 8461 to determine the administrator. By the way, if an executor is not named in the will, and there is a conflict over this role, seek out a professional like Kellar Law Group.
What are my responsibilities?
I am glad you asked because you have duties. They bind you as an estate representative. For example, you have a fiduciary duty until the property is disbursed. The law says you have to be honest, responsible, keep records, and communicate. It is the real deal. You must maintain these standards. What’s first?
The first steps are threefold: secure assets, collect data, and make notifications.
- You will be responsible for physically securing the assets. That means locking homes, securing assets and paying the debts owed on them. While you are dealing with the debts, you can cancel all credit cards or subscriptions. You will need to take possession of any assets paid to the decedent, like securities or annuities as well as safe deposit box contents. Prepare their taxes and make sure the taxes are paid. Secure online assets like online photo storage.
- You will be responsible for collecting data. You will need to find the will, collect copies of the certified death certificate, and start figuring out the possible heirs. Continue to collect your loved one’s mail.
- You will be responsible for making notifications. You need to contact the Social Security Administration and the Franchise Tax Board to inform them of the passing.
This is enough for your to digest. It is a lot, especially at this time. Continue to watch for upcoming blogs in our series What do I do as the Estate Representative. Next time we will look closer at the determination of heirs and the identification of property.