Dealing with the death of a loved one can be an emotional and difficult time. For some people, the stress can be compounded by acting as the executor of the decedent’s estate. However, if you are an executor, there are things you can do to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the task before you. When it comes to managing an estate, organization is key.

If you take the time to understand the legal documents associated with the estate and stay organized throughout the process, you can get through the ordeal with ease. Here are some tips that can help you settle your loved one’s estate.

Locate all important documents

The first thing you should do as executor is to locate all the important documents and appraisals associated with the estate. If you have assumed the role of executor, you probably already have a copy of the will in your possession. However, there are several other documents you will need as well. For instance, you should obtain a copy of the death certificate and proof of insurance. You will also have to gather financial documents like bank and investment records, titles to property and information regarding any remaining bills and debt.

Contact the beneficiaries

As the executor, you must stay in contact with the beneficiaries named in the will. At the time of the initial contact, you should let them know that none of them will receive any distributions from the estate until everything has been settled in probate court and with any creditors.

Keep it organized

Since you will be handling a lot of paperwork including paying any outstanding bills the decedent owed at the time of death, filing the decedent’s final tax return and the tax return for the estate, it is vital that you stay organized. Make sure the records you have remain up-to-date and consider creating a filing system to help you keep track of everything. In addition, keep duplicates of everything since you may have to submit copies of various documents to different parties.

Distribute remaining assets

Once you have settle the estate and all creditors have received their final payments and there are not any outstanding bills, it is time to distribute any remaining assets from the estate. Be sure that you follow the directions of the will when it comes time to make the distributions. For instance, if minors are named in the will, then it might include additional instructions to put these beneficiaries’ assets in a trust until they reach their majority.

The above tips can help you manage a loved one’s estate if you are the executor or representative of the estate. Depending on the complexity of the estate you must manage in the Torrance area, you may need additional help from accountants, financial advisors and other individuals who are knowledgeable about handling an estate in order to avoid any legal pitfalls along the way.