Probate lawyers in Monroe County and our neighbors in Ontario, Wayne and Livingston Counties are well aware of the hassles and headaches that families face when a loved one’s estate goes into probate.  The process can drag out, eating up not just time but also resources that would have otherwise gone to beneficiaries.  Appointed executors find themselves with burdensome responsibilities that can compound their grief.  In order to navigate the process as quickly and smoothly as possible, probate lawyers recommend you keep the following in mind:

Probate Tip #1:  Hire an Experienced Estates Attorney

It may be tempting to navigate probate and estate administration alone, but a good estates lawyer will be able to make the entire process more efficient.  The attorney’s expertise will guide you steadily in the right direction and experienced paralegals who do this type of work daily keep you on track for completing the administration as quickly as possible.

Probate Tip #2:  Determine Creditors Quickly

Part of the probate process is determining debts and notifying creditors to cut off potential late fees and penalties. Determine debts and expenses as quickly as possible to be able to keep the process flowing smoothly.

Probate Tip #3:  Prepare Detailed Records Contemporaneously

An asset inventory will need to be filed with the Surrogate’s Court as part of the administration process.  As the executor or administrator works with the estate, he or she should be creating an inventory of its assets and getting appraisals when appropriate, whether on personal effects, real estate, or other assets.  Copies of all financials should be provided to the law firm assisting with the administration to avoid the expense of research and trying to recreate records.

Probate Tip #4:  Don’t Miss Deadlines

There are specific deadlines set for when documents need to be filed.  Missing these deadlines will lead to keeping the matter open longer, possibly result in additional tax return filings and could necessitate additional court appearances.

Probate Tip #5:  Keep Accurate Records

The creditor claim period can vary from state to state, which is another excellent reason to work with a local estates attorney.  Once this period has ended, the executor will file the final report and accounting. Beneficiaries are entitled to a detailed accounting of the executor’s actions.  Having these numbers ready to go and double checking them for accuracy helps get the estate closed faster.

There’s no doubt that seeing an estate through the administration process creates stress and potential confusion.  A good estates lawyer and the firm’s experienced team will minimize this stress, and utilizing these simple probate tips can get the estate and all those connected to it through the process that much faster.