The passing of a loved one can bring about many emotions. You may have recently lost your spouse after being married for decades, and though you knew the end was near, the loss is no less life changing or emotional. You may have known that your spouse intended for you to act as the executor of the estate, but you may still not feel sure how to start.
At first, it may feel as if you have to get everything started right away, giving yourself little time to grieve. You may even have relatives already asking questions about how your spouse intended to divide the remaining estate or when they can get certain assets. This can certainly seem overwhelming, but you may want to remember that you can take some time before the probate proceeding gets underway.
One vital task
Of course, even if you do plan to take a few days or weeks to allow yourself to grieve before jumping into the probate process, you may still want to move forward with one vital task: securing your spouse’s remaining property. Though you think well of your family members, it is easy for items to go missing within the days and weeks following a person’s passing. Many individuals may be passing in and out of your home to offer condolences, and someone could pick something up and leave with it.
Even if your spouse left a specific item to a person, that beneficiary cannot simply come in and take the asset whenever he or she pleases. All property needs to remain part of the estate until the last stages of the probate process. If someone asks for a personal item, even if it is not very valuable, it is wise to hold on to everything until the distribution stage of probate. If assets leave the estate too soon, conflict could arise.
After securing your loved one’s property and taking your time to grieve, you may feel ready to start the probate process. Because you will need to file your spouse’s will with the court and officially take on the position of executor, you may understandably feel a bit intimidated. Fortunately, you can enlist the help of an experienced Florida attorney who can guide you through the necessary legal proceedings and assist you with the tasks associated with closing an estate.