Whoever serves as your estate executor will have the responsibility of distributing your estate to your heirs, so you want to look for ways to lighten the burden on your executor. Sometimes estate administrators become swamped with duties because the estate has a lot of issues that need addressing before probate is complete.
One way to speed up the distribution of your estate is to consider how your estate might lengthen time in probate. Policy Genius describes some parts of an estate that can add duties for your executor.
If you own a lot of assets, probate may take longer. Your will may be lengthy and complicated, so your executor will spend a lot of time figuring it out. If you have multiple checking and retirement accounts, your executor will need to contact all the financial institutions that host your accounts. A large number of assets in your estate also means your executor will have a more complicated task dividing them among your beneficiaries.
Money you owe at the time of your death could complicate probate. Your executor will have to contact your creditors to notify them of your death so they can file claims against your estate. The more debts you owe, the more time your executor will take to contact your creditors, which could take weeks or even months to complete.
Many people who die owe taxes, so plan on your executor filing a tax return for your estate. The extent of your wealth will dictate how much in taxes you will pay. In addition to income taxes, you may have various federal and state taxes depending on the assets you own. Your taxes may be complex enough that your executor will have to hire one or more professionals for assistance.
Minimize duties for your executor
If any part of your estate appears to be a burden for your executor, now is a good time to consider your options. Establishing beneficiary designations or a trust takes some of your assets out of probate. You could also make plans to pay off debts and to have someone file your taxes so your executor does not have to start from scratch in dealing with them.