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Nashville Estate Administration Law Blog

Get help if you're appointed as the executor of an estate

When someone you love passes away but has made you their estate's administrator, you're in a special position. It is your job to make sure that the individual's assets are gathered, their business affairs are handled and their debts are paid (if possible). You are responsible for filing a final tax return and for distributing assets as the decedent directed.

As the executor of the estate, you are saddled with all these responsibilities, but it can be scary, frustrating and confusing. That's why it's smart to work with an attorney to help you guarantee that you do everything as you should. That way, there will be little chance of making mistakes that you could later be held liable for. In addition, if you want to turn down the role, you'll need to do so in court.

How can you protect, and even grow, your inheritance?

If you have received an unexpected inheritance from a loved one, you may be taken by surprise. It may be a property or a large sum of money. No matter what it is, the inheritance was unexpected and has you thinking about all you can do with it.

Many people spend their inheritances quickly instead of thinking about their long-term goals. Here are three ways to preserve your inheritance.

Consider a living trust to protect your assets

You have always wanted to leave behind assets to your beneficiaries. It's been a goal of yours to improve your financial situation and create wealth for your family in the future.

One good way to pass on assets to your heirs and beneficiaries is through a living trust. A living trust is unique. It places your assets into a trust for your own benefit while you're still alive. At the time of your death, those assets can then be transferred to your beneficiaries.

Will a holographic will stand up in court?

When you think of the word holographic, you might be imagining some baseball cards or playing cards that use light diffraction to create an image that looks three dimensional. When you hear "holographic will," you might think that this is some new, space-age will.

The truth is that a holographic will has nothing to do with the 3D images that people like making with typical holography. A holographic will is simply a will that has been handwritten from start to finish. It is also hand-signed by the testator.

Ask for help if you're appointed to be an executor

Whenever someone dies, it is important for their estate to be managed and collected for distribution. Estate administration involves a number of steps. These include collecting the assets belonging to the estate, paying the debts owed on the estate and distributing any remaining assets.

The person who will take care of managing the estate is called the executor. This person could be someone the decedent knew and appointed to the position or may be an attorney or bank official. If there is no will, the court will generally appoint someone to be the executor. This would normally be a family member or surviving spouse. Sometimes, there is more than one executor appointed.

Get the right help to distribute assets to heirs

If your loved one has passed away, then you may be tasked with taking care of their estate. Sorting out an estate can be a lot of work, but there are some tips that can help you simplify the process.

To begin with, realize that the executor is going to be the person in charge of handling the estate. If there is no will or trust in place, then a probate court may appoint an administrator to handle the estate's distribution and to resolve any remaining issues with the estate.

Choosing a trust could protect your estate

A trust is an interesting fiduciary arrangement that places your assets into the hands of a third party who is entrusted with their safety. The trustee holds those assets to later distribute them based on your wishes as stated in your will or estate plan.

There are many reasons to have trusts, with one of the main being that some can help reduce your estate's value. This could prevent you from paying estate taxes or could reduce the taxes you owe.

Take the right steps to manage your inheritance

You never expected to be left an inheritance but now that you've been informed that you have one, you aren't sure what to do. The truth is that it's a lot of money to receive, and you don't want to spend it all without considering the consequences.

The smart thing to do in your case is to reach out to a financial planner and tax professional as well as your attorney. An inheritance can be a huge benefit, but only if it's managed correctly.

Joint wills: Old legal documents with few benefits

An interesting type of will that many people don't know about is a joint will. It's a unique legal document in that it allows a surviving spouse to inherit the entire estate upon their spouse's death.

Joint wills are executed by two or more people at the same time. Usually, they're made for married couples, combining their last will and testaments. With joint wills, the surviving party is able to receive the entire estate when their spouse dies. Usually, when the second party passes, the estate then passes to the spouses' children, if they have them.

Appointed to be an executor? Get the right help

If you've been appointed as the executor of a will, you may be unsure of your duties. That's where your attorney can help. As an executor, you have to follow through on the duties you're assigned including:

  • Paying taxes on the estate
  • Distributing assets in accordance with the will
  • Paying the estate's bills
  • Going to court when necessary
  • Maintaining the estate until settlement

If you are appointed as an executor, do you have to take the role?

When you need legal help, we are here for you.

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