You have an estate plan, and you think it's as good as it's going to get. Before you think that you're done, wait a second and consider talking to your attorney. What you think is iron-clad could actually be an estate plan that is not as well-planned as you thought.
When you pass away, do you know what debts you'll leave behind? Do you know how your family will be affected or how those debts will be paid?
In Tennessee, estates under the value of $25,000 can be administered under the Small Estates Act. The administration of a small estate is less formal, but it should only be used in uncomplicated cases. For example, if your loved one passes away with only $20,000 and no debts, then handling the estate with the Small Estates Act would be feasible.
Your mother and father had never talked to you about their will or their estate. That's why it was so shocking to you that you were appointed as the executor. Now, at a time when you are grieving your loss, you have a number of responsibilities to take care of.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Wills are an important part of the estate-planning process, but many people don't have them. When wills aren't in place, the estate will go through probate, which takes much longer to resolve.
Estate administration is more than just distributing assets according to a will. Estate administration requires the administrator to take possession of all real estate, stocks, personal belongings and other assets that have been left behind by the decedent.