Things to do when you are named an executor of an estate.
My relative has passed away and named me executor of their estate, What do I do Now?
Things to consider now that you are an executor of an estate
Losing a love one can be very emotional time in one’s life. At Huff Insurance we are sorry for your recent loss. I know, I have lost both of my parents and handled my mom’s estate. At some points I was not sure what to do next or where to even turn. The first thing that I would recommend is that you hire an attorney to help you through the process. As the executor of an estate, their information can be very valuable to you. The attorney will help you to make sure that deadlines for reports and taxes are not missed.
Being the personal representative for an estate is not an easy task.
Once you are named the personal representative, Maryland law states that you are “…under general duty to settle and distribute the estate of the decedent in accordance with the terms of the will and the estates of decedents law as expeditiously and with little sacrifice of value as is reasonable under the circumstances.”
You will need to take possession of and distribute assets, prepare and file and inventory and information reports, prepare and filing an accounting, pay debts, taxes and costs of administration and fulfill all other responsibilities.
Most times, a probate bond will need to be filed with the county register of wills office. The estate bond is in place in case the taxes are not paid. The state can make a claim against the bonding company for the amount due. The bonding company would then proceed with legal action against the personal representative or executor of the estate.
Insurance Concerns for an Executor of an Estate
The time of loss is not the time that anyone wants to think about insurance. However, as the executor of the estate, you need to do it know before there is a claim. Family members may not be happy if the family home burns to the grown and there is no home insurance coverage.
There could also be issues with the auto insurance policy. If a family member drives the deceased car and has a serious accident, the estate can be sued, As the executor of the estate, it is your obligation to make sure that all properties, vehicles, assets are properly insured.
Your loved one may have a residence that they owned and occupied. Most homeowner’s insurance policies require that the named insured reside in the premises. Now that the owner has passed away, you need to let the insurance company know.
Failure to notify the insurance company could jeopardize all of the coverage afforded by the policy. Make sure that you document when and with whom you spoke with at the agent or the insurance company.
How is Property Titled?
You should also know how the property is titled. Many times it is titled joint tenants with right of survivorship. If the other spouse still resides in the home it may be as simple as just correcting the named insured on the policy. The entire policy may need to be rewritten if there is no surviving spouse. Or if the surviving spouse has decided to go live with family or to be in a nursing home.
Maybe other family members or even lifelong friends are going to stay at the property. The insurance company still needs to be made aware. Depending on the situation you may need a dwelling fire policy. Also, the friends should get their own renters insurance policy to cover their personal liability coverage and their belongings if there would be a claim.
There may be a vehicle that was titled to the deceased.
- Where is that vehicle going to be kept? Many times the personal representative may decide to keep the vehicle at their home, which may be an issue if there is a claim and the company was not notified of the change in location.
- Are there additional drivers that will be using the vehicle before the titling of the vehicle is changed? If so, then the auto insurance company needs to be made aware of these drivers. Anyone who is driving the vehicle or has regular access to it needs to be listed on the car insurance policy.
A lot of responsibility comes with being the executor of an estate.
Here is a quick reference of the things to do after the burial of your love one.
- Contact the Social Security Administration and or any other government agency or benefit program that may be making payments to the decedent.
- Review the Decedents financial affairs and look for any estate planning documents such as Wills and Trusts.
- Consult with an attorney about these documents and other estate matters
- Consult with an accountant if there will need to be final accounting completed
- If a Probate Bond is needed, contact Huff Insurance
- Open a bank account for the estate of the Decedent.
- Cancel all unnecessary services- such as cable TV, phone or newspaper subscriptions
- If there is life insurance in place contact the companies about filing a claim
- Contact the insurance company or agent for the home, auto, business or any other insurance policies that are in effect to see what changes need to be made. Maintain all coverage on all properties.
- Make an inventory of household goods, personal belonging and the like. This is so they can be accounted for and properly distributed
- Try to assemble the deeds of the decedent to see what real estate, if any is owned. If there is real estate in other states, you may need to file probate in those states as well.
- IRAs, retirement plans, may involve beneficiaries.
- Do not be quick to distribute assets to family members. There maybe taxes due that need to be paid before they can be distributed
Huff Insurance is a full service Independent Insurance Agent We have been dedicated to Protecting Lifestyles™ since 1960. We offer a full array of Personal Insurance, Commercial Insurance and Life Insurance products.
Call us at 410-647-111 and we can help you with the insurance aspect of being an executor of an estate.