If you've been selected to be an executor for someone's estate, know that this job comes with many responsibilities. That's why it helps to know what mistakes can be made when doing this job so that you do not make them yourself.
Not Requesting The Proper Amount of Death Certificates
Common sense would say that you only need one death certificate of the person who passes away. Unfortunately, you will need several death certificates. A copy can work in some situation, but others want the original certificate. This includes the life insurance company the person had a policy with, probate court, and the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).
Not Identifying Important Mail
The deceased will still be receiving mail from some companies if they have not received notice about the person's death. Don't throw away their mail because you think it is not important anymore. There can be bills coming in that you need to be aware of, information on insurance policies, or even important legal notices. All of these documents are important to help determine what liabilities they estate has.
Not Filing Taxes
Income taxes should be filed for the last year that income was earned. Not only is this important to make sure that there are no issues with the IRS, but it will verify if the taxes from the previous year were properly filed. For example, there can be a tax refund coming that will go to the state, or a tax bill that is owed. Be aware that there is a special form used to file taxes for a person that has passed.
Not Contacting The SSA
Did the deceased person receive social security? If so, it is important to contact the SSA soon after the person's death. Those checks will continue to come in, which makes the estate liable for over-payment of social security benefits. In addition, a death benefit is paid out when a person passes away, and you will want that to be paid in a timely manner.
Not Finding Their Safety Deposit Box
While you are looking up bank account information, do not forget about a potential safety deposit box. There could be more assets tucked away in this box that you need to be made aware of.
For more information on what you should do as an estate executor for everything to go smoothly, work with a local estate planning lawyer. You can also check out websites like https://www.linskylaw.com.