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Get help if you have to administer an estate

If you are the executor of a will, you have an important role to play after your loved one passes away. The process can be emotional, because you're in charge of carrying out their wishes. You're also in charge of settling debts, distributing assets and even letting the government know that the individual has passed away.

There's no question that administering a will can be complex if you've never done it before, but fortunately, there's help. Many people work with their own attorneys or the attorneys who build the estate plan so that they have help when they need it.

What can you do to make administering the estate easier?

To start with, you can make administering the estate easier by ordering many copies of the death certificate. You could need several for things such as transfer of ownership of bank accounts or annuities benefits, life insurance or vehicles. You may need them for federal or state taxes, too.

Another thing to do is to find out if you have to go to probate court. If your parents put together a living trust, you likely won't need to go through probate. However, if the estate doesn't have trusts or a will, you could find yourself in court. Probate can take a few months to a year, so it has the potential to be a drawn-out process.

With this situation, you may want to consider seeking legal assistance, because getting things done right is essential to eliminating liability. Your attorney can talk to you more about administering the estate and handling your loved one's last wishes.

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