After a testator’s death, your role as their executor will begin — and one of your primary jobs is making sure that the probate process is properly opened and completed.
While going through the probate procedures, you will often find it necessary to communicate with the testator’s heirs. Here are some tips that can help:
Inform the heirs that probate on the estate has begun
When you take the will to probate, you will notify the beneficiaries and other interested parties. This alerts them that estate administration has begun. Your notice should also inform them they can request a copy of the will.
It helps to inform beneficiaries about the steps that need to be taken during the probate process. You don’t need to tell them everything, only reasonable information. For instance, you may inform them about the expected timelines of the distribution of assets and any delays you may experience along the way. This helps manage their expectations and keeps you from feeling undue pressure to hurry things along.
A few tips up your sleeve can make your communications more manageable. These include:
- Having a reliable communication platform – It may be best to create an email list, and then you can follow up with calls when one fails to respond. However, with some documents, such as the notice of probate of will or the will’s copy, you may need to mail or hand deliver them.
- Be respectful – All your conversations with interested parties should be respectful. It will help to remain calm and polite even when a beneficiary has an issue.
These tips can help you communicate effectively, and in turn, avoid conflicts that can lead to unnecessary and complicated legal action.
When it’s time to assume your duties as an executor, it may help to get legal guidance to make informed decisions. You can also get help working through the probate process.