Losing someone is never easy and can be made increasingly difficult when dealing with the estate of that person. You open that will and realize the task before you. Uncle Billy is to receive X dollars, you and your siblings are to split the home evenly, debts are to be paid, and that’s not even bringing up funeral expenses. Each family member then becomes anxious for what has been left to them. The trick is – how to remain civil when you’re the one managing the estate and getting phone calls every other day?
Grief affects us all differently.
Remember that they are grieving as well. You’ve all lost someone dear to you. Their grief may manifest in a way that rubs you the wrong way – often in the form of phone calls and texts. You, being the executor of the estate are the point person and can become the object of that grief. They may not understand why they weren’t put in charge of the estate, or have some lingering guilt. Regardless, grief manifests in each of us differently. Keep that at the forefront of your mind when going through this process!
Offer regular updates on the estate.
The estate process can take a while – especially when real estate is involved or the liquidation of assets needs to occur. Between having to list a house for sale or dealing with an insurance company, these things take time. When you’re in the thick of it and everything is riding on you making phone calls or filing paperwork it feels like it’s taking an eternity. Those that are waiting for their inheritance but aren’t involved in the process are left wondering what could possibly be taking so long. Offer up regular updates to those involved to help ease their frustration. This also lets them know you’re actively working to resolve everything.
Assume the best intentions.
Listen, dealing with an estate can be tricky, trying and incredibly frustrating – especially when there is money involved. It’s easy to begin applying labels to family members and assume all they care about is money. If you assume those are their intentions, you’ll become increasingly frustrated with them and it will be difficult to continue building relationships after this is all over. Assume their intentions are good and it makes stomaching the frustration much easier.
We’ve found one of the best ways to remaining civil with your family when going through an estate is to let them know your attorneys are taking care of it all. They aren’t likely to call us and ask us for updates, especially when they know they aren’t the executor of the estate. Letting them know your legal professionals are handling the manner will put their minds at ease – and yours as well.