5 Benefits of Using Probate Checklists and Tools

There are many responsibilities that come with the role of Executor or Administrator of a Deceased Estate. You need to make funeral arrangements, complete a large number of administrative tasks and keep track of all the paperwork and processes that come with Estate Administration, where Probate Checklists and Tools are greatly beneficial.

In addition, you’ll be responsible for applying for Grant of Probate with the state Supreme Court  as well as informing family and friends and various government and private establishments the deceased person dealt with during their lifetime about the death of your loved one.

Then, of course, there’s the lengthy and potentially complicated process of getting the affairs of the Estate in order, finding the Will, accounting for and managing all assets and liabilities, claiming death benefits, paying taxes, distributing the proceeds of the Estate to the Beneficiaries and so on. In fact, if we’re to cover the entire Estate Administration process from end to end, we’re talking about 34 steps in all by our count.

This is why it’s crucial for Executors and Administrators to use proven reliable Executor Checklists and Tools — whether they are undertaking the process of Estate Administration themselves or with support from a probate lawyer, accountant or both.

1. Benefits of Using Probate Checklists & Tools

Based on our experience at simplyEstate, our suite of Probate Checklists and Tools can save as many as 99 hours of Executors and Administrators time!

Our Executor Checklists and Tools eliminate the need to research, build and maintain records, files or documents separately. They can also save as much as $900 in lawyer fees because the administrative aspects of their role are covered extensively in our Probate Checklists and Tools — equating to about two hours of lawyer consultation. Moreover, all simplyEstate Checklists and Tools are simple, comprehensive and easy to follow.

Aside from the advantages mentioned above, there are also other benefits you simply cannot ignore if you’re tasked to administer an Estate. For example, simplyEstate Checklists and Tools can:

1.1 Help establish and automatically calculate the value of the Estate

Information on the Estate value is essential whether you are applying for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. The value of the Estate is also something you may need to discuss with the Beneficiaries, share with lawyers or accountants at some point. The Estate value is something you will be referring to frequently throughout the Deceased Estate administration process.

1.2 Assist you in keeping an oversight of all aspects of the Estate

Depending on the size of the Estate, you could find it challenging to oversee all the Estate assets, liabilities, personal belongings and valuables. But by using Probate Checklists and Tools, you’re sure to have all the information required on those items — something you can refer to anytime the need arises.

1.3 Help you keep track of every single item of the Estate

The Estate Administration process is a lengthy (on average 12 months) and complicated affair — even more so if the Estate is sizeable, complicatedly structured and many Beneficiaries are involved. By using Probate Checklists and Tools, you can keep track of every item gifted, bequeathed or willed to Beneficiaries. This way, you can avoid complaints that may arise from anyone interested in and asking questions about the Estate.

1.4 Ensure you can keep a record of all Estate Administration expenses and effort

When you have an entire Estate to manage and several people to deal with during Estate Administration, you might find yourself too busy to keep track of and document every single expense involved in the process. However, this is a crucial aspect of Estate Administration.

After all, there are funeral expenses, taxes, legal fees, accounting fees, photocopies, certification and lodging of documents and many other costs to consider. You also need to log the time you spend performing your duties as Executor or Administrator so you can request a commission (or compensation) towards the end of the process.

1.5 Help you not re-invent the wheel

Make use of other Executor’s and Administrator’s experiences and avoid making the same mistakes. Using frequently used Probate Checklists and Tools allows you to focus on more important matters than researching, developing tools, and figuring out how to keep records. Furthermore, when queries are raised, you will know where to look for answers straight away.

Remember, Estate Administration can involve a mountain of documentation and paperwork that will play out over many months, so it’s very easy to get lost in the details and processes. However, with Executor Checklists and Tools at your disposal, you have everything you need to help you stay on top of your duties as an Executor or Administrator and get it done the first time around.

2. Most Used Probate Checklists & Tools

No two Estates are exactly the same, yet our suite of Checklists and Tools will assist Executors to get started and navigate the process while keeping track of the essentials.

Based on our experience, four specific categories of essential Checklists and Tools stand out and continue to be in high demand. (However, please note that the simplyEstate Checklists & Tools are not legal documents and do not constitute legal advice per our Terms & Conditions.) These include the following:

2.1 Executor Estate Accounts Template

These checklists include the Assets & Liabilities Inventory and Home Contents & Personal Belongings Inventory. Executors and Administrators who use these are helped by automatically calculating the total Estate value based on the entries made. This tool also makes it easy to sign off and keep a record of items picked up by a Beneficiary.

By using the Executor Estate accounts template, there’ll be no lost, missing or unaccounted for items — something you’ll find very useful in case you encounter questions or complaints from Beneficiaries about the Estate assets.

2.2 Probate Checklists

In matters relating to the application for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, nothing is more important than the Probate Checklists and Tools, including an Estate Executor spreadsheet template and inventory list for Probate.

Nevertheless, the essential Checklists and Tools encompass the Important Documents Checklist, Intestate Inheritance Assessment Tool (Where no Will is in place), Beneficiary Inheritance Guide, Executor & Administrator Timesheet and Letter of Authorisation – Banks & Financial Institutions. The same can be used as a Letters of Administration checklist, when no valid Will was left behind.

With these Checklists and Tools organised and updated, you’ll have all the details ready to deal with the applicable state Supreme Court. With everything in order, you’ll also find it easier to deal with Beneficiaries, banks and financial institutions, and other establishments you will have to be in contact with during Estate Administration to release funds, transfer property and more.

2.3 Executor Expense Spreadsheet

As the Executor or Administrator of a Deceased Estate, you’re expected to commit your time, energy and sometimes even pay for out-of-pocket expenses in the process of Estate Administration.

However, you also have every right to be reimbursed for any Estate-related expenses you may incur. This is why an Executor Expense Spreadsheet (which allows you to track Testamentary Costs & Executor expenses) is essential.

By keeping track of all expenses in the Executor expense spreadsheet, including Funeral, Court and Probate fees, as well as all legal, administrative, and other costs, you have the documentation required to get reimbursed for any expenses you paid for out of pocket. You can submit this together with the relevant tax invoices and receipts when you seek reimbursement from the Estate prior to the distribution of the proceeds to Beneficiaries.

2.4 Sample Letter of Estate Distribution

This category of Checklists and Tools includes the 10 Important Tasks to Finalise & Distribute the Deceased Estate and an Sample Letter of Estate Distribution. Using these documents allows Executors and Administrators to easily tick off what was completed, and present and communicate the financial details of the Estate and the inheritance to each Beneficiary. This also seeks all Beneficiaries’ sign-off to reduce some personal liability risk on the part of the Executor or Administrator after distributions have already been made and complaints or claims are received thereafter.

3. How to Access simplyEstate Checklists & Tools

For Executors and Administrators looking to get information and assistance on the Estate Administration process, simplyEstate provides a complimentary starter set of three Checklists and Tools, namely the:

  • Important Documents Checklist
  • Home Contents & Personal Belongings Inventory
  • 10 Important Tasks to Finalise & Distribute the Deceased Estate

However, in the process of Estate Administration, you will find that there’s a lot more paperwork involved. There may be other Checklists and Tools you need to cover everything and perform your role efficiently.

This is why simplyEstate also gives Executors and Administrators the option to access the above three items plus seven essential Checklists and Tools enumerated below:

  • Assets & Liabilities Inventory
  • Inheritance Assessment Tool (Intestate – Without a Will)
  • Beneficiary Inheritance Guide
  • Estate Distribution Letter Sample
  • Testamentary Costs & Executor Expense Tracker
  • Executor & Administrator Timesheet
  • Letter of Authorisation – Banks & Financial Institutions

When you opt to get all these necessary Checklists and Tools, you’ll be saving yourself valuable time and money. You’ll also be arming yourself with tools used by hundreds of Executors and Administrators to ensure a smooth Estate Administration process, so you also experience significantly less stress.

Make Use of Available Help

The Estate Administration process is a time-consuming affair that can be fraught with challenges and complications. As Executor or Administrator, you are expected to manage the Estate properly, so it helps if you have everything you need to make performing your duties as smooth and painless as possible.

That is what these Probate Checklists and Tools are for. By ensuring you have access to the most essential documents, we’re hoping to simplify your job and help streamline the Estate Administration process.

So, why not make things a little bit easier on yourself and everyone involved?

If you would like to discuss how we may assist, please book a free phone appointment and we look forward to speaking with you.