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When do you distribute inheritances from someone’s estate?

| Apr 15, 2020 | Estate Planning And Probate |

As the executor of your friend’s estate, you want to handle everything properly. However, their anxious heirs are already asking questions about the decedent’s assets, both big and small. Your reluctance to pass out their inheritances is starting to create some tensions, and you’re feeling the pressure.

Unfortunately, there’s no quick solution to your problem. However, it may help if you understand the task ahead of you and your limitations. This can also put you in a better position to explain to the watchful heirs why there are delays.

Here are the basics of what needs to happen before you can distribute any inheritances:

  • You need to inventory the estate. This may be fairly quick, or rather time-consuming. It all depends on how orderly the deceased tended to be with their belongings and paperwork.
  • Some of the assets may need to be valued by experts before you can submit any records to the probate court. This also allows you to calculate any capital gains taxes that will need to be paid if an asset is sold.
  • You need to inventory and pay the decedent’s remaining bills. There may be everything from property taxes and utility bills to final medical bills that must be paid before an estate can be settled.
  • You have to file any necessary tax forms. Most of the time, this will be a simple process — but it can still be time-consuming.

Only then can you distribute any inheritances. The heirs may take some comfort in knowing, however, that it’s your job to secure all of their loved one’s personal items and assets until they can be given to their rightful heir. That may relieve a good bit of their anxiety.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your responsibilities as an executor, you can get experienced help with probate administration from an estate planning attorney.