Reasons an executor should read a will early

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2021 | Probate

A relative such as a parent may have asked you to serve as an executor for his or her estate. This is a major responsibility that you should prepare for. If you are not familiar with the duties of your relative’s estate, it could lengthen probate as you try to figure out how to carry out your duties. One way you might speed up probate is to check over your relative’s will before your relative dies.

Once you agree to be your relative’s executor, ask for a copy of your relative’s will. Even if your family member alters it later, now is a good time to familiarize yourself with the document since most of it may remain unchanged.

Look for beneficiaries and contacts

Beneficiary designations are a crucial part of a will. The Motley Fool suggests that you should make notes of anyone listed as an heir so you know in advance who will inherit. The will may also name important people that you will need to contact after your relative’s death. It is also possible your relative has designated co-executors. These are people you will have to share executor duties with.

Once you have gathered all the names from the will, consider acquiring their contact information. After your relative’s death, you will have to contact the will’s beneficiaries. You should also be ready to talk to co-executors if they exist.

Ask your relative questions

Waiting until after your relative has died to read the will may make it hard to figure out unusual or vague provisions. Reading the will early on may avoid this problem. In the event something seems unclear in the will, you still have the option to ask your relative about it.

You may also ask your relative about the location of important papers that you will need. If your family member has a safe deposit box, you should know where the box is. Also ask about the locations of deeds, property titles, financial account records, anything you will need to process your relative’s estate. Knowing this information means you do not have to spend time figuring it out after your relative’s death.