Ground Rules for the Division of an Estate
Like any game, in order for The Settlement Game to be fair, all participants (heirs) must know and agree upon the rules, and then all must play by them. In the 'game' referenced within the system of organization taught in this book, there are four basic Ground Rules. These are so important! They will make a great difference in the final outcome of the Estate Settlement. Here is a list of these Ground Rules:
1. Determine the 'players' - (Heirs Only - no spouses or other family members).
2. Commit to a Common Goal: (To keep peace within your family).
3. Do NOT remove anything from the home (or premises). Let everything go through the process of the 'settlement game'.
4. Establish a 'System of Organization'.
This article will center especially on the 4th of the above Ground Rules. Establishing a 'System of Organization' will truly make the difference between an orderly transfer of property and utter chaos. Regardless of who is appointed 'Executor' - decide on the 'heir' who has the best organizational skills or business background to be in charge of this part. Appoint this person to be the official record-keeper for the entire process. (This may be - but does NOT have to be the Executor). Example: One sibling might be the Executor, but another may have better organizational skills. Therefore, they can create a method for 'joint' duties related to many of the items that needed to be handled.
Next, acquire the necessary supplies for recording the information. This includes such items as a notebook, blank paper for recording notes and miscellaneous information and facts, pens and pencils (with good erasers), a small cash box, a petty cash receipt book and basic office supplies. It is extremely important that accurate records be kept throughout the process. The first essential record-keeping item to include is a quality appraisal. Hire a professional appraiser to come in to make a list of every item that has any value and assign a dollar amount for each item. A good appraiser is worth a great deal in this process, so find one who is reputable and ethical. Ask for quality recommendations from legal counsel or from financial planners or others whom you trust. Get references - and BE SURE TO CHECK THEM! Everything depends on this appraisal, so take the time and spend the money required for this. (NOTE: You may be surprised at the results. Sometimes you will discover items with greater value than you might have expected).
There are other similar steps in the record-keeping process. One thing to remember is to approach the entire process as a major 'cleaning-out' extravaganza. Tackle one room at a time and go through everything - every drawer, cabinet, closet, box, etc. The process of cleaning up creates a lot of true 'trash'. However, REMEMBER THIS: Don't throw anything away until all agree that it is truly "trash". Just about everything has value to someone.
Naturally, there are many other miscellaneous steps in the 'System of Organization' related to the division process of an estate settlement. Above all, keep this in mind: This is a golden moment in time...treasure it...make it count...it is forever! Make sure you follow a system of organization that teaches you “How to Settle an Estate Peacefully and Fairly.”
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angie Epting Morris has worked as a professional cartographer, a high school teacher of English and Geography and has owned a retail travel agency including a state accredited school to train travel industry personnel. She is now regarded as an expert in the field of Peaceful Settlements – “How to Settle an Estate Peacefully and Fairly”. This involves her skills as a teacher in helping people learn her proven system for going through the division process of an Estate Settlement. She speaks and conducts workshops for groups regarding this important area of family relationships and also works with professionals (Attorneys, Estate and Financial Planners, CPAs, Insurance Companies, etc.) to help fulfill this important niche in the estate settlement process.