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Common mistakes when handling estates

Losing a loved one is a difficult thing to deal with. While surviving family members focus on their emotional healing and remembering their lost loved one, they often also have to confront the reality that they have to figure out what to do with their loved one's assets. This process of asset distribution may sound easy enough, but in practice it can be fraught with logistical and legal complications.

However, when it comes to first assessing one's estate, there are some common mistakes to try to avoid. The first is to not waste a lot of time going through the estate piece by piece. Instead, individuals should consider initially separating personal property into categories that are much easier to tackle later on.

Second, far too many people undervalue certain pieces of personal property. Items that one is unfamiliar with may seem worthless when in fact they are quite valuable. Therefore, it is wise to consider acquiring the assistance of an appraiser who can help accurately value the property at hand. Likewise, individuals should try to avoid placing too much value on things they are familiar with.

There are other common mistakes. For example, some people neglect to search attics and basements for assets, while others let family and friends rummage through the estate's property to take whatever they want for free. Lastly, those managing an estate after one's death need to remember that the deceased individual's debts need to be paid with the estate's assets.

Those who are administering estates as they go through probate can secure additional advice from a competent legal professional. Administering an estate can be overwhelming for those who don't know what they are getting into. However, those who leave a clear estate plan in place before their passing can help ensure that things run smoothly upon their death.

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Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP
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White Plains, NY 10601

Phone: 914-269-2367
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