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4 Essential Tips for Executors of Wills


Being the executor of a will or the personal representative of an estate can be an honor, as it means that a loved one trusted you to carry out his or her final business. Serving in these roles, however, can also be as involved as it may be complicated, particularly for those who have never administered or settled an estate before.

To help these individuals as they start to take on their new responsibilities, below are some essential tips for executors or personal representatives who are getting ready to administer an estate. While the info presented below can be extremely helpful in getting the estate settlement process underway, however, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Santa Clarita estate attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman when you need superior representation at any phase of the process.

Helpful Advice for Executors & Personal Representatives

Tip 1 – Locate the Will ASAP

If you know that a decedent left behind a will, make it one of your top priorities to find the will as soon as possible. Some good places to start looking for it include (but are by no means limited to):

  • Home offices and computers.
  • Safes and/or safety deposit boxes.
  • With professionals or attorneys who provided services to the decedent.
  • With the local court.

If you cannot locate the will, consider asking other loved ones, as a decedent may have informed them about where (s)he stored his or her will. You may also want to contact a lawyer for help, as legal professionals may have additional helpful advice regarding where you can locate a will.

Tip 2 – Get Multiple Copies of the Death Certificate

In fact, it’s generally recommended that you obtain double the number of death certificates that you think you will need. This is because you will need to present copies of the death certificate to multiple parties or organizations moving forward.

For instance, while you will need to present a copy of the death certificate to the decedent’s banking institutions, you may even need to have death certificates for the Social Security Administration or insurance companies.

So, make sure you have enough copies of the certificate moving forward so that you are ready to carry out the business of the estate.

Tip 3 – Submit Letters Testamentary to the Court

Letters testamentary are formal documents authorizing you to oversee the business of an estate and act as an executor or personal representative for the estate moving forward. By submitting these letters testamentary to the court early on, you can expedite the estate settlement process and get on with the business of paying creditors and estate taxes, as well as inventorying and distributing the assets of the estate.

Tip 4 – Retain an Experienced Lawyer for Help

If you are only able to follow one tip discussed herein, this is the one to carry out. That’s because retaining an experienced estate planning lawyer can be invaluable moving forward, particularly if you have never settled an estate before if the estate is fairly complex, and/or if you simply want to ensure your rights and interests are protected moving forward.

Contact a San Fernando & Santa Clarita Estate Attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman

Do you need help developing or administering a will? If so, a trusted Santa Clarita estate attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman is here for you.

To discuss your needs and find out more about how we can help you, contact our firm by calling (818) 892-7093 or by filling out the contact form on this page.

From our offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to our clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, and the greater Los Angeles area.

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