Learning you are an Executor or knowing what to do when someone dies is overwhelming. You can expect a range of internal and external responses. This quick list will help you confront those responses and set you up for success:
- Breathe, reflect, and take the time you need to process the loss of this individual. Someone has died and we can’t shove all of the completely normal and expected human feelings out of the way. If you’re comfortable doing so, seek out the community/family in which the deceased person lived. Listen, share, connect, and celebrate a life well-lived. There is plenty of time to do work – now is the time to be a human.
- Locate the legal, financial and human directions that the deceased has left. Hopefully, the deceased left you well prepared and you already have everything you might need, but if you don’t – at least find out where the Will is located.
- Spring into action to get accurate information about your responsibilities and best practices as an Executor. Lawyers and other professional advisors are trusted sources for information regarding your executor duties; Google and your neighbours are not so reliable.
- If you know who they are and are comfortable doing so, communicate to the family/beneficiaries of the deceased. Let them know what you’re doing and who you are getting guidance from, what information you are collecting, and let them know that you will communicate with them further once you have more information and direction to share. Note that this element is not a requirement of an executor but it can help alleviate some of the stress and tension when executing someone’s estate.
If you are unsure of where to start or how to navigate this process, schedule a strategy session with us to learn about your role and how best to accomplish your duties as an executor.