There are a lot of things that you have to handle when a loved one passes away. You may have to make the final arrangements. You might have to handle other duties, as well.
If you are the executor of the estate, or even if you are just a concerned heir, you will have to pay close attention to what is going on with the estate. The more you know, the better you are likely going to handle everything that is going on during the probate process.
Is there a will in place?
If there is a will in place, the will dictates what happens to the assets that your loved one left behind. While wills are usually pretty solid, there are some instances in which this might not be the case. If your loved one died without a will, he or she died intestate. This means that property is distributed according to the laws in California that govern these estates.
Does the estate need to pay any bills?
There are some bills that the estate will pay. You should seek assistance with this because there is an order that you must follow when determining what must be paid. If the estate can't cover the bills, the heirs won't usually have to do anything to cover them. It is important that you find and account for all of the assets that are part of the estate so that you have an accurate account of what you can count on if there are bills that need to be paid.
Is any point in the estate plan that is being disputed?
It is possible that points in the estate plan might be disputed. You have to handle these situations carefully, so make sure that you understand what responsibilities you have in these cases. There are various reasons why a person might not agree with the estate plan. Trying to find out the reason and determining if there are any steps you can take to rectify the situation might be appropriate. Make sure that everything you do is handled in compliance with applicable laws.
Are all heirs accounted for?
You might have to search for heirs listed in the estate plan. This often occurs if there are heirs that have moved away. While most heirs can be found with a little work, there are some instances in which this doesn't occur. You should make sure that you find out what you should do if you can't find heirs who are listed in the estate plan.
Source: Nov. 30, -0001