When your Michigan parents leave a portion of their estate for you and have named you as the executor under their will, it can feel like a great honor and a heavy burden at the same time. The role of an executor is not an easy one, and in order to be successful at it, here are some important guidelines to keep in mind.
The first thing you should consider doing is having a sit down with your parents to discuss their will and estate plan. For most people, this is often a sensitive topic, but you need it to avoid any confusion and ensure that everything is clear. Ask your parents to explain their wishes and intentions, as well as the reason behind certain decisions. If you have siblings, relatives or your parent’s friends that will benefit from the will, you may also want to encourage your parents to talk to them so they know what to expect.
Organize their documents
Your parents may have several important documents that pertain to their estate and finances, including wills, trusts, insurance policies, bank statements and deeds. It is important for you to know where they keep these documents and how to access them when needed. You may also want to suggest that your parents review their documents and ensure they are up-to-date.
Familiarize yourself with the relevant probate laws
As an executor, it is your responsibility to ensure that your parents’ estate goes through probate properly. In Michigan, this process typically involves filing a petition with the court, notifying interested parties, inventorying assets and debts, paying taxes and distributing assets according to the will. On top of that, you should know how to handle conflicts and will contestations should they arise.
Embracing the role of an executor can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Nothing feels better than ensuring your family’s legacy preservation through the execution of your parent’s will. It helps to be proactive and informed early on to make things flow as seamlessly as possible for you.