Planning · July 08, 2020

Estate Settlement Services

You have total control of your financial resources. Savings, investments, mortgage and bills. You know where every dollar goes, handling today’s obligations and keeping an eye on tomorrow’s opportunities.

But, life is finite. It’s realistic that much of the wealth you’ve built over a lifetime will remain after you’re gone. Will those assets be distributed according to your wishes? They will be if you take action now to ensure that your estate is settled promptly, according to your specific instructions. Estate planning can be complex, but it really begins with two fundamental decisions.


Make smart choices

First, it’s essential that you create or update your legally valid will. That’s important because a current will ensures that your wishes – and not default to state laws – are followed in the distribution of your assets to beneficiaries.

Second, you need to name a qualified executor (personal representative) for your estate. Your executor, either an individual or institution, manages your remaining financial obligations and distributes your property as instructed in your will.

The executor is your voice

The executor you name in your will settles your estate according to your wishes–making sure your voice is heard throughout the process. Until distributed to beneficiaries, your executor also safeguards the assets of your estate.

Think carefully as you consider possible candidates. Remember that the ideal executor is:

  • Financially responsible
  • Free of personal bias
  • Known to have unquestioned integrity
  • Patient and sympathetic
  • Experienced in managing financial assets and holdings

Absolutely qualified

Great estate settlement experts will maximize benefits to your heirs, relieve the legal and administrative burden from your family and provide consistent communication as your assets are distributed. As executor of your estate, they will:

  • File court documents including an inventory and accounting of your assets
  • Oversee collection, valuation and distribution of your assets
  • Conduct sale and distribution of personal property and real estate
  • Coordinate preparation of the estate, fiduciary and personal income tax returns
  • Pay your remaining debts, taxes and expenses
  • Collect money owed to you
  • Cancel credit cards, subscriptions, utilities, etc.
  • Complete and file insurance and annuity claims

Settling an estate can be complex and time-consuming. A close relative or friend can serve as executor, but many are overwhelmed by details, don’t have the time and are ill-prepared for the job. They may also be grieving themselves while having to deal with sometimes emotional family concerns.

Naming the wrong executor can be costly, adding confusion, expense and time to the process. Selecting a financial institution that has comprehensive estate settlement services as your executor removes this potential problem. As your fiduciary representative, they’ll watch the details and handle tedious administrative tasks – always with your best interest as their top priority. They’ll also work with your beneficiaries, helping them manage their finances as they receive proceeds.

Insights

A few financial insights for your life

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This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. First Citizens Bank (or its affiliates) neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.

Your investments in securities, annuities and insurance are not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency and may lose value. They are not a deposit or other obligation of, or guaranteed by any bank or bank affiliate and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Brokerage and investment advisory services are offered through First Citizens Investor Services, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. First Citizens Asset Management, Inc. provides investment advisory services.