Advertisement

Executors of an estate can face trying process

Ask Bob

Ask Bob

June 25, 2009|By BOB POOR

Q: My widowed father passed away recently and I am the executor of his estate. I am faced with cleaning out and selling his home and am uncertain about where to begin. Can you provide any helpful hints?

A: Sometime recently, Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine addressed this topic, and I have been faced with the situation with my own family. It definitely complicates life - materially and emotionally.

As the executor, you will need to deal with the financial and legal decisions related to the sale of the home and its contents. You likely will need some help in accomplishing this task. The following tips might get you started in the right direction.

o Financial matters. Start with collecting all of the parent's financial data, especially as it relates to the house. Deeds, insurance policies, mortgage papers and so forth, along with financial statements, checkbooks and the like.

Advertisement

Professionals (organizers and real estate agents) can provide considerable paid assistance, if you need it.

This is especially true if you are from out of the area and need assistance finding other kinds of local services.

o Clean up. Take one room at a time, and decide what to keep and what to pass on. If in doubt about the property value of the house, you can hire the services of a personal property appraiser. I suggest consulting the American Society of Appraisers for accredited members. Consider hiring an estate-sale company if there are considerable household effects to distribute after you and/or the family members have kept or distributed what you have chosen to keep.

o Don't forget to file federal and state tax returns, if required. You also might have to file a state estate tax return. The Register of Wills office typically covers this during the probate process.

o Getting Ready For Sale. After the cleanup comes the refurbishing stage - the fresh paint and repairs, as needed. If deep cleaning is required before refurbishing, hiring a cleaning service might be in order. If expenses run high and there is insufficient cash available to cover all costs, discuss it with the contractors. Sometimes, they are willing to receive payment from the funds at closing of the sale.

As the executor, you will oversee removal of that lifetime of "stuff," assembly of the financial "jigsaw," preparation of the house for sale and placing it on the market.

Hopefully, some of these tips will prove useful.

Hagerstown resident Robert A. "Bob" Poor is a member of the Society of Senior Advisers and provides senior professional services for reverse mortgages and personal insurance. He also is a member of the Senior Referral Center of Hagerstown.

Questions are welcomed at r.poor@myactv.net or by mail c/o The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Robert A. Poor column.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|