Experiencing the loss of a loved one is an emotional journey, and being designated as the executor of their estate can amplify stress during this challenging time. As the executor, you bear the responsibility of handling their assets, finances, and ensuring the proper distribution of inheritance to beneficiaries. If you're new to the world of executorship, it's natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. In this blog post, we are here to assure you that you're not alone. We will discuss the details of your new role and provide practical tips on how to navigate the settlement process with ease and confidence.
As an executor, you are responsible for carrying out the wishes of the person who has passed away. Your first priority will be to gather all of the necessary documents directly following the passing of your loved one. This can include the death certificate, will, trusts, and insurance policies. You will also need to contact relevant banks, investment companies and government agencies in order to have everything settled in a timely manner. While the thought of doing this alone may appear daunting, know that you can often engage with funeral directors, financial advisors, or legal professionals to help you navigate these processes.
The next step is to begin managing the estate. This can include paying off debts, closing accounts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. It is important to record all of the financial transactions that you make on behalf of the estate so that the wellbeing of the estate is maintained for beneficiaries. With the time spent settling an estate taking 245 hours on average and post-death paperwork alone taking 127 hours, the process can consume a substantial amount of time and effort for executors (Mazurik & Perron, 2023). It is imperative that the executor remains organized and disciplined in their record keeping.
Executors may find it helpful to include family members in the process to help them feel connected and provide them with closure. They may have questions regarding the last wishes of their loved one and want to understand the distribution of assets. With that said, it is essential that executors remain impartial to beneficiaries and are dedicated to the wishes outlined in the final will and testament.
Executorship can feel daunting, especially when navigating the process in solitude while also mourning the loss of a loved one. It's important to remember that not everything needs to be done at once, the process will take time. With grief often affecting the ability to focus and absorb new information, it can easily feel overwhelming to accomplish the many tasks assigned to executors (Mazurik & Perron, 2023). In these moments, it’s essential to practice self-compassion and reach out for support whenever necessary. Recognizing the need to prioritize your mental health by taking a step back from your responsibilities is truly the best way to navigate this emotionally challenging time.
At Cadence, we understand how overwhelming the executor journey can be. Our online tool, the Executor Assistant, provides executors with the personalized guidance they need to easily keep track of and accomplish estate tasks. The user-friendly dashboard complete with a personalized checklist and auto-fill features works to streamline the settlement process. This way executors can focus on what matters most: making space for grief and spending time with their loved ones. The added ability for executors to invite and collaborate with family members or professionals can substantially reduce their workload and resulting stress. Through the continuous addition of innovative tools, Cadence is committed to making the necessary executor process as manageable as possible.
Becoming an executor is no easy task. It brings with it a multitude of mental and emotional challenges, especially when coupled with the weight of personal grief. While tasked with the responsibility of fulfilling your loved one's final wishes, it's equally important to be conscientious of your own needs. For better navigation of the process, remember to seek guidance, establish clear boundaries, and maintain meticulous organization of the estate. However, with additional resources and support in place, such as Cadence's Executor Assistant, the role of executorship becomes more manageable, allowing you to simultaneously honor your loved one’s legacy while maintaining your well-being.
Mazurik, K., & Perron, R. (2023). Supporting Families with Estate Settlement. In Cadence. https://www.cadenceco.com/challenges-with-estate-settlement-report