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Carrying out the probate process can prove complex

In the event of the death of a family member, many financial considerations need to be made.  This can include notifying the Social Security Administration, contacting employers, locating information regarding life and health insurance policies, obtaining death certificates and making an inventory of assets.  However, one of the first actions that a family member should take is to locate the will of the deceased individual.

The will contains the name of the executor or personal representative.  It’s generally a good idea to then have the will filed in probate court – even if the estate will not be subject to the probate process.  Also, the executor may be required to apply for a taxpayer ID concerning the estate.

Care must be taken by Florida residents throughout the entire probate process.  Successor trustees, executors and personal administrators of an estate can be held personally liable to mistakes with the settlement process is being ironed out.

Experienced probate lawyers can assist such individuals through the estate settlement process. Besides assisting individuals in preparing wills and planning for the passing on of their estate, lawyers can also assist those appointed to carry on duties such as the personal representatives. They can make certain that creditor issues are appropriately dealt with.  They can also put into place strategies that will save on tax dollars concerning inheritances that are received.  These professionals can also take the necessary steps to make certain that liability issues do not arise.

Estate planning is not a simple process to plan or implement in any event and is too important to leave up to chance.

Source: iBerkshirs.com, “Settling a Loved One’s Financial Affairs,” March 10, 2014

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