Question: I was named as Executor under my father’s Will. What types of things should I consider? Answer: Serving as Executor of an estate can be challenging. There are a number of things to consider which depends on the types of assets that are part of the estate. Here is a list of some items that might be a good place for an executor (or Trustee for that matter) to start: 1. For a residence that will be unoccupied for an extended period of time:
- Consider changing the locks;
- Remove valuables from the residence, make a detailed inventory and keep the valuables safe;
- Consider a security system if there are valuables in the house;
- Keep the temperature controlled in the house to prevent frozen water pipes;
- Have the mail forwarded to you;
- Stop deliveries (e.g.. newspaper);
- Find the homeowner’s insurance policy and let the insurance agent on the policy know that the place will be vacant;
- If the property is a condo or cooperative, you should arrange to have the associated fees paid and contracts/agreements reviewed.
2. Cancel credit card accounts and subscriptions. 3. Confirm that the property and casualty insurance coverage continues on cars, personal effects and real estate. 4. Collect from individuals who may owe debts to the decedent. 5. Inventory consents in safe deposit boxes with a witness such as a bank officer. 6. Contact social security. 7. Check to see if there are pets or other animals who need care. 8. Store or deal with perishables in the residence. 9. Obtain copies of income tax returns, investment statements and other records for the administration of the estate. This is not an exhaustive list, but should give you an idea of the types of issues that will arise and things to consider as an Executor. Feel free to call me with any questions.
Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.