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Tips for administering an estate

Nobody wants to be faced with the estate administration process, as this means a loved one has passed on. Unfortunately, this is a situation you may have to tackle at some point in your life.

There is a lot that goes into this, including a variety of pitfalls that could get in your way at any point.

Fortunately, with the right approach, you can administer any estate in an efficient manner.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

-- Make sure you know which state laws apply to the estate.

-- Learn more about the probate process, including whether it will be formal or informal.

-- Take inventory of the estate. This is a job for the personal representative.

-- Distribute the estate. This comes into play once all creditors are paid.

Making things even more challenging is the fact that the probate process can be both time consuming and costly. In some cases, however, such as when a person had a living trust, this may not come to the forefront.

While these basic tips provide an overview of how to administer an estate, there's something to remember: No two estates are exactly the same. You should expect unique challenges to arise along the way.

When creating an estate plan, do your best to make things as simple as possible on your loved ones. Remember, it is the decisions you make today that will impact the estate administration process upon your death. By making the right choices, you can put your loved ones in a much better position, both personally and financially.

Source: FindLaw, "How to Administer an Estate," accessed July 12, 2016

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