A family member has passed and you find out that you are the personal representative of the estate. You have no experience at doing this and are not even sure what needs to be done. There are generally three phases for your next actions.
Phase One: Gather all documents and information for the deceased as quickly as possible. You will need to physically take control of these assets. Start getting the deceased’s mail. This is helpful to find out what has been going on in the deceased’s life. As you gather create an inventory of the assets. You will want to open probate with the probate court.
Phase Two: Continue gathering information. You will need to have the assets valued and provide notice to creditors. During this phase, it is critical that you are thorough and have all information regarding creditors and assets.
Phase Three: This is when the estate is closed. You have gathered the assets and have the liabilities before you. When all are paid (or denied) and distributions are made, the estate can be closed.
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