Can you make probate easier for your executor?

You and many other Louisiana residents may hope to leave your surviving loved ones with as little trouble as possible when it comes to settling your remaining estate. Maybe you have seen other family members or friends go through a difficult probate process, or perhaps you have had to handle one yourself. In any case, you want to leave enough instructions and put someone in charge who will feel comfortable and confident in the role.

The executor of your estate will have a great deal to handle when it comes to settling your final affairs. As a result, choosing the right person is essential, and you will also need to ensure that your desired person feels willing to take on the position.

How can you make the process easier?

One of the biggest ways to make the process a little easier for your remaining loved ones is to talk about your wishes with your prospective executor. Explain why you think he or she would fit the role, give an overview of what you want to include in your estate plan, and ask the person whether he or she may have the time, ability and desire to handle it for you. If the person accepts, this prevents an unsuspecting loved one from being blindsided by the appointment.

You could also provide detailed information that your executor would likely find useful during the probate process, including:

  • Contact information for your attorney, financial professionals and other parties who had a hand in your estate-related matters
  • A list of your creditors
  • An inventory of your assets and the locations of those assets
  • Login information, including names of websites, usernames and passwords, for accounts the executor may need to access
  • Funeral arrangement instructions

This information typically acts in conjunction with an estate plan but is not necessarily part of the planning documents. A letter of instruction can hold this information, which one can create informally but needs to be in a location that your executor can easily access. If you put certain information in your will, such as your funeral wishes, the family may not read those documents until after your funeral has taken place.

Making the situation clear

Even if your desired executor seems likely to accept the role, you may want to make the responsibilities as clear as possible to make sure that he or she knows what it could involve. Probate can be long and difficult, and you do not want to give your prospective executor the wrong impression. In the event that the person does not feel comfortable with the amount of responsibility, choosing another person or even a professional service may be wise.