Losing a loved one is never easy. But if you’ve been named administrator of succession in Louisiana, you’ve probably got a lot of questions that you need answered quickly. After all, things are going to move swiftly, and if you don’t have a handle on what you’re doing, you could be accused of mishandling the estate.
So, what should you do after your loved one passes away?
Although you’ll need to give yourself time to mourn, you’ll also need to be prepared to take immediate action. Here are some of the major steps that you’ll have to take in order to ensure that succession goes as smoothly as possible:
- Locate key documents: Before succession can occur, you’ll need to locate your loved one’s succession documents, including their will and any trust documentation that might exist. In addition, you’ll need to locate any records that indicate to whom your loved one owes money.
- Make notifications: Your loved one’s creditors will need to be notified of your loved one’s passing, and the government will have to be put on notice, too, if your loved one received Social Security or other benefits such as those provided by Medicaid.
- Create an asset inventory: As an estate administrator, you’re going to be responsible for ensuring that assets are properly handled, whether through distribution to those named in succession documentation or payment to creditors. To make sure you properly document how those assets are handled, you’ll want to start with a full inventory of your loved one’s assets.
- Open a bank account for the estate: There might be money coming to your loved one even after their passing. This can include wages and insurance benefits. These funds can be used to help pay creditors and cover final expenses. By opening a bank account to house these funds, you can make their use easier and more readily track how they’re being used.
- Pay taxes: Your loved one’s estate will still have to pay taxes. So, make sure you file the proper documentation in a timely fashion.
- Pay creditors: The estate is responsible for any outstanding debts owed to creditors. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that those expenses are paid, keeping in mind that the succession planning documents in play might impact which assets you can use to pay off those creditors.
- Distribute assets: With succession documents in hand, you should have a firm understanding of how your loved one intended for their assets to be distributed. As administrator, you’ll be responsible for much of that administration, but make sure you keep a clean record of when and to whom those assets are distributed.
As you can see, there’s a lot of work to be done after a loved one passes away and you’re in charge of managing succession. Although you might be able to handle it all on your own, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself to the point that you make a mistake. That’s why many people who find themselves in this situation choose to seek help from a legal professional who can guide them along the way.
Are you ready for your next steps in succession administration?
Even though the list of duties mentioned can seem like a lot, it’s just a broad overview of your responsibilities as an administrator. There could be several nuanced legal issues that you face along the way, any one of which could become problematic.
That’s why if you’re about to embark on succession administration, you need to have a full understanding of what the process entails and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved one’s estate as fully as possible. Fortunately, there are ample resources out there to get you started so that you can be successful in your endeavor.