Administrating a deceased loved one’s estate: some challenges

Besides the tax issues, there are various challenges that individuals will face if they are handling estate matters for a loved one in California who has died. First, a lot depends on who the executor is. If the loved one died intestate, the probate court will appoint an administrator. If there was a will, it most likely designates an executor. If there was a trust, it will have designated a trustee.

Those who do not feel that they need a professional executor may want to think twice, especially if there are unreasonable heirs to contend with. If a person does take on the role of executor, they must prepare for time-consuming work and for short deadlines.

Some important steps include obtaining the death certificate and updating any revocable trust that the loved one set up with his or her spouse. The relative administrating the estate may need to substitute themselves in the revocable trust as co-trustee. New grandchildren may need to be added as beneficiaries while others who were designated as beneficiaries might have to be removed because they died.

If the decedent was financially comfortable, then there’s the issue of selling a high-end home. Realtors may push a person to prepare it for an upcoming home-selling season. Belongings may need to be sold off and an estate liquidator hired.

The list of challenges can go on and on. This is why individuals may want to see an estate planning attorney and set up at least a simple will regardless of how old they are. Besides a simple will, one may also consider a power of attorney, which appoints someone to make decisions on their behalf regarding things like real estate and business transactions. An advance directive can lay out what one wishes for in terms of end-of-life care.