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Overlooked Estate Administration Tasks

Posted on: August 14th, 2015
estate administrationObserving legal requirements related to the administration of a loved one’s estate generally become the focus of the executor and surviving family members following a person’s death. Valuation of assets, the reading of the will, acquiring copies of death certificates, and accessing safe deposit boxes are some of the steps involved with estate administration that typically must be accomplished in the weeks and months following a death. 

Generally, estate administration involves various duties and tasks that might overwhelm individuals participating with estate administration. What should be done with unused prescription drugs the decedent left behind? How can loved ones minimize grief when taking inventory of the decedent’s personal effects?

Our estate planning attorneys provide an overview of commonly overlooked circumstances that many surviving family members face:
  • Prescription drug disposal. Whether the decedent required multiple medications near the end of life or simply had a few bottles of unused prescriptions remaining from prior ailments, drugs must be disposed of safely and properly. Local police departments run prescription drop-off days and many maintain 24/7 prescription drop-off boxes. Keep in mind that identity theft is not faced only by the living. Thieves also target identities of the deceased. Take care to remove or destroy identifying information on prescription drug labels before discarding them at an official drop-off site.
  • Grief management. One of the time-consuming tasks that must be performed after someone dies is documenting all of their assets. Selling property could trigger emotional grief and stress, as visiting an individual’s home is often deeply connected to memories of the deceased. Individuals involved with selling an individual’s home or personal property might feel more comfortable signing a limited power of attorney that authorizes a professional or trusted person to deal with and dispose of the property in order to limit their interaction with the loss of the home. Family and friends usually feel a sentimental attachment to the decedent’s personal items. Whether one is dealing with clothing, jewelry, furniture, family photos, personal journals, or keepsakes—a surviving spouse or child could be overwhelmed with grief when sorting through belongings. Hiring a professional organizer can help minimize the family’s contact with personal items, help create a clear inventory for the executor, and identify items that need to be appraised.
  • Moving and disposing of personal items. After an inventory of the decedent’s property is made, the executor and family might identify unwanted items that could be donated. These items could range in size from a bag of clothing to a car, boat, or heavy furniture. Donations made from the estate should be documented carefully for tax purposes. The burden of moving large items and locating appropriate charitable organizations for donation can be lessened through the use of donation pickup services. A simple Internet search in one’s area can help identify pickup providers, eliminating the hassle of hiring movers or renting a large vehicle for transport. Surviving family of veterans have the benefit of Purple Heart Pickup, a charitable organization that provides donation pickup services for veterans and their family in every state.
Life must be rebuilt after losing a loved one. Estate administration is part of the process of moving forward, but can be burdensome for someone battling emotional turmoil. Our estate planning attorneys understand how sensitive this time is for family. Whether an individual needs to consult with a lawyer merely to clarify a legal question or requires comprehensive assistance with the estate administration process, we can assist with simple and complex matters. Contact our attorneys to discuss administration of estates in North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee or New York.

By Attorney Samantha Reichle

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