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What is a letter of testamentary, and do you need one?

If someone in Nevada designates you as an executor in a will, you incur various obligations and responsibilities to carry out certain duties. For this and other reasons, it's crucial to discuss such matters ahead of time. If you're caught off-guard when informed that a friend or loved one listed you as an executor to a will (about which you had no knowledge) it might lead to all sorts of stress and complications.

You might consider it a compliment when another person entrusts an estate to you since it implies that the decedent thought highly of you and found you trustworthy. If it's your first experience as the executor of an estate, certain terminology and protocol might prove unfamiliar to you. For instance, in order to begin administering the estate, you need to obtain a letter of testamentary. Do you know what one is and where to get it?

Letter of Testamentary basics

Some people refer to this document as a letter of administration. In order to obtain document, a court must name you as the executor of the estate. A few basic facts regarding this topic include the following:

  • The purpose of a letter of testamentary is to show you have the legal right to act as an executor of a particular person's estate.
  • This letter gives you permission to pay an estate's debts, take inventory of the estate's assets and distribute those assets on behalf of the decedent.
  • Various other duties you might carry out as an executor in possession of a letter of testamentary involve real estate transactions, banking endeavors and other financial-related matters.
  • It's typically best to obtain many copies of an original letter of testamentary because various officials may request copies when you attempt to carry out business with them on behalf of the estate.

To obtain a letter of testamentary, you'll likely visit a probate court or city hall. The probate officer generally expects you to bring the decedent's death certificate, as well as his or her last will and testament. Of course, you will also need to provide proper identification to prove your identify as the executor of the estate.

The process of administering a person's estate presents numerous challenges to someone doing it for the first time. Even if it's not your first time, every estate plan requires you to perform specific actions; therefore, what you do to carry out your duties for one estate may differ somewhat from another. Many people in your situation act alongside guidance from experienced estate planning and estate administration attorneys to alleviate stress and assist in navigating the probate process.

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