No matter how you approach it, going through the probate process will have at least a little stress. You are likely grieving your family member while dealing with a complicated legal process. This is doubled if you have been appointed the executor of the estate. While you can’t get rid of all of the stress, there are some things you can do to minimize that stress.
Get the Documents in Order
The first thing you should do is make sure you have all the necessary documents organized and ready to go before you go to court the first time. The most common documents you need are wills, trusts, the certificate of death, legal agreements, information about beneficiaries, a list of assets, any debts, and other things that may affect how the estate is handled. This can be overwhelming to organize, so it may be good to work with other family members or a lawyer if things are more complicated.
Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page
Before you go to court for the first time, you need to sit down with your family and get everyone on the same page, if at all possible. One of the most stressful things that can happen during probate is having someone contest the will. Distributing assets is often an emotional process, and making sure that everyone has a chance to process things before you end up in court can cut down on any drama. It can also help you figure out what the most complicated issues will be so you can be prepared to handle them.
Decide What to Do With the Property
Unless the property was jointly owned or explicitly left to someone, it can be complicated to decide what to do with any property that your loved one has left behind. Rather than letting everyone fight over the property, it may be best to just sell it. Not only does this keep people from feeling slighted, but it also provides you with the funds that you need to finance the probate process. You can also easily divide the remaining profits between the beneficiaries in a way that you can’t divide the property. If you are looking to sell the property, selling to a cash home-buyer is the fastest and simplest way to get this done.
Probate is complicated, and the grief doesn’t make it easier. Make sure you lean on your family and friends to get through this process. It also may be helpful to talk to a lawyer about what can make this process easier. Be gentle with yourself as you navigate this process.
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