When a spouse passes away it is an emotional and trying time. You will have a lot of people and tasks on your to-do list that may make your days rather stressful. With the assistance of a good estate planning attorney, you may be able to lighten the load. But, before you get started, acquaint yourself with some of the tasks and people you will deal with during this time.
Your Spouse’s Estate Plan
Most likely your spouse has created an estate plan. If he or she has one, you will have to deal with a few people that have been designated within the plan. The first person you will encounter is your spouse’s executor. This is the person your spouse has elected to manage his or her affairs. In some cases a spouse may be the executor, which means you will be handling the duties associated with this role.
Beneficiaries are those who inherit from the estate. If you and your spouse had children, your beneficiaries are likely to be any children you had, grandchildren, etc. Your spouse’s estate plan will be clear on who inherits what and how much. If you’re the executor you’re responsible for following those wishes, but if you’re not, you will have to wait for the executor to carry out these deeds.
In the event your spouse has created a trust, you will have to deal with a trustee. Most likely this is you, which means you are responsible for managing and distributing any assets within the trust.