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Tips for Finding Estate Assets After You Are Named the Executor

If you are named as the executor of an estate, it's important to seek the advice of a probate attorney to ensure that your best interests are being protected. Being an executor is a privilege, but it also comes with huge responsibilities. If the deceased was wealthy or left a sizable estate, the position becomes that much more complicated.

If you are suddenly in charge of someone's estate, the tasks may seem overwhelming, but the probate lawyer can help with many aspects of this newfound responsibility. One of your responsibilities will be to make a list of the assets of the estate. The decedent may have assets that you never knew about, but it's important to find them so all beneficiaries are given what is rightfully theirs. Follow these tips for finding the assets that your loved one may have kept hidden.

Look Through the Decedent's Records

The first and easiest step to finding estate assets is to look through the records of the decedent. This may include looking at the person's credit report or other records. As you identify financial institutions where the decedent had accounts, make a list of them. Next, secure letters of administration to take to each of the financial institutions where the deceased person had accounts. The institutions may give you records of the accounts, which can be used to track transfers of money of all kinds.

As you are looking through the paperwork, keep in mind that assets may include, but are not limited to, the following things:

  • Insurance policy.
  • Content of a safety deposit box.
  • Prepaid funerals.
  • Registered bonds.
  • Stock certificates.
  • Valuable antiques.
  • Real estate.
  • Old bank accounts.

If you feel that something is missing, it's worth looking for it. Follow records and hints to leads you may have. Be sure to check in-house safes and safety deposit boxes.

Contact a Private Investigator

If you find yourself at a standstill and simply cannot locate assets that you suspect belong to the estate, you may want to consider hiring a private investigator. Choose an investigator who has a proven track record of successfully resolving asset searches. Private investigators are likely to charge a variety of different prices for this service, so you may want to talk to a few before choosing one.

Finally, keep in mind that it's important to do your best to find all assets of the estate when you are an executor. If you suspect that the decedent may have hidden things in certain locations, try to explore all possible options to find the items that should be included in the estate. When in doubt, consult your lawyer to be sure that you are legally protected in the situation. For more information, contact a business such as Legal Action Workshop.