If you are the executor of a will or the trustee of a trust, you will be tasked with distributing the proceeds of the deceased person's estate. Although executors and trustees have other duties, including those that are administrative and managerial in nature, the most important duty is the distribution to beneficiaries. As the distributor of money to heirs, you must be sure to carefully track your distributions and make them according to the will or trust.
Review the estate planning document carefully to determine the identity of the heirs. Compile a list of all of the heirs to be paid in money, including the amount according to the will or trust.
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Determine the status of the administration of the estate in probate court if you are distributing money from a will. Money cannot be distributed by the executor of a will until the probate court permits it. Contact the court if you are unsure when you may pay the will's heirs.
Contact each heir by letter to inform them of the pending money distribution and the amount that they should expect. Within your letter you should make it clear that the heirs are responsible for any taxes on the distribution. Make copies of the letters for record-keeping purposes.
Mail checks to each heir by certified mail, which requires a signature upon receipt. Certified mail will ensure that the heirs receive their checks. Verify that each heir has deposited the funds.
Send a follow-up letter to each heir stating that all of the money distributions have been made. Keep a copy of the letters for your records in case there is a disagreement regarding whether you paid an heir.
It's always wise to consult with an attorney before undertaking the sometimes complicated process of distributing inherited money.