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What Happens When You're Gone: Administrating An Estate

Posted by: David Riggs on Monday, December 2, 2013 at 12:00:00 am

Scavenger Hunt was a very funny 1979 movie about settling the will of fictional game maker “Milton Parker”. Various groups of potential heirs- family, servants, and other acquaintances- had to play Mr. Parker’s final game, a scramble to find items on a scavenger hunt list to accumulate the most points in order to be sole heir of his fortune. 

After many humorous adventures acquiring the items it looked as though Mr. Parker’s greedy sister would win but the other groups gave their items to the more deserving granddaughter who won and shared the fortune with all but the greedy sister.

It was a lesson in how people can come together under adverse circumstances, overcome greed, and be happier for it. Unfortunately in real life the loss of a loved one is very serious and settling an estate can often be very difficult for those left behind.

Administering an estate is a demanding and complex business that can take months or years to complete. Executors (also called personal representatives) must know how to locate and place a value on all of your assets such as bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, and personal property and to determine and pay all debts and claims against your estate.

The executor must work with your attorney to open the estate, manage, maintain and protect your property and investments while the estate is being settled, calculate and pay all taxes and file tax returns, distribute your assets as directed and give an accurate final accounting if required.

Your executor should not be emotionally involved in the situation. For an already distraught relative or friend the job can be overwhelming. In addition, a relative or friend acting as executor might create family conflicts, jealously, or mistrust. Appointing a neutral, unbiased third party eliminates the potential for this type of trouble.

Your executor must be competent and experienced in settling estates and should be trained in investments, tax law, business, and accounting.

Your executor must always be available. Will an individual executor be in good health and nearby when needed possibly many years later? An executor who lives in a different city or co-executors who live in separate states will find it difficult to complete the tasks on a timely basis.

Your executor is held legally and financially responsible and must have the resources to correct or compensate for any errors.

MutualWealth Management Group will always be available to carry out your wishes as expressed in your will efficiently and effectively unaffected by inexperience, biases or family pressures.

In order to have the professionals in our MutualWealth Management Group administer your estate, contact your attorney and have MutualBank named as your executor or personal representative; or contact us and we will help you gather the information you need before visiting your attorney.

This blog was brough to you by David Riggs, Vice President and Trust Investment Officer with the MutualWealth Management Group.

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