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The Executor's Guide: Settling a Loved One's Estate or Trust [Paperback]

Mary Randolph J.D.
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)


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The Executor's Guide: Settling a Loved One's Estate or Trust The Executor's Guide: Settling a Loved One's Estate or Trust 4.3 out of 5 stars (41)
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Book Description

February 9, 2010 1413310931 978-1413310931 4
Settling an estate can be like moving through a maze -- let The Executor's Guide lead the way.

If you're faced with wrapping up the affairs of a loved one who has died, you may feel overwhelmed by all the work ahead -- especially when you're grieving. But with the right legal and practical information, you can do it.

The Executor's Guide will help you get organized and make progress one step at a time, by assisting you in navigating an unfamiliar land of legal procedures and terminology. It explains how to:

  • prepare for the job of executor or trustee
  • take your first steps
  • claim life insurance, Social Security and other benefits
  • make sense of a will
  • what to do if there is no will
  • determine whether probate is necessary
  • care for children and their property
  • file taxes
  • deal with family members
  • handle trusts
  • look up your state's laws
  • work with lawyers, appraisers, accountants and other experts

    The 4th edition contains updated tables outlining key points of each state's laws, the latest information on estate taxes and worksheets that help you stay organized and on track.


  • Editorial Reviews

    Review

    "The Executor's Guide [is] a super-detailed, step-by-step book that's a must-read." (Beth Fenner, CNN "More Money" blog 2010-05-28)

    "Covers the gamut of estate chores and helps you get through them." (Kiplinger's Retirement Report 2008-02-02)

    "Explains how to find state-specific information, and an appendix sorts legalities by state." (Miami Herald 2008-06-08)

    "Provides a guide for executors and trustees, describing legal procedures and terminology, what to expect, decisions that will need to be made, and questions to ask." (Reference & Research Book News 2008-02-02)

    About the Author

    Mary Randolph earned her law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Executor's Guide: Settling Your Loved One's Estate or Trust, 8 Ways to Avoid Probate, Every Dog's Legal Guide: A Must-Have Book for Your Owner, and Deeds for California Real Estate. She is also a coauthor of the legal manual for Quicken WillMaker. She has been a guest on The Today Show and has been interviewed by many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

    Product Details

    • Series: Executor's Guide: Settling a Loved Ones Estate or Trust
    • Paperback: 510 pages
    • Publisher: NOLO; 4 edition (February 9, 2010)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1413310931
    • ISBN-13: 978-1413310931
    • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 7 x 8.9 inches
    • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
    • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #645,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

    More About the Author

    Mary Randolph earned her law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Executor's Guide: Settling Your Loved One's Estate or Trust, 8 Ways to Avoid Probate, Every Dog's Legal Guide: A Must-Have Book for Your Owner, and Deeds for California Real Estate. She is also a coauthor of the legal manual for Quicken WillMaker Plus. She has been a guest on The Today Show and has been interviewed by many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE book to have when you're loved one dies! December 10, 2005
    Format:Paperback
    It hard enough when your parent unexpectedly dies and you discover you are the executor of the estate. There are so many questions and so little time. This book is a godsend. It covers everything you need to know from the moment your loved one passes. It describes step by step, in plain english fashion, what needs to be done in the first week, the first month, and in the future. Everything from death certificates, to funeral arrangements, to claiming life insurance, and, of course, dealing with the estate. It's all in this book. It is your one-stop resource for unbiased, easy to understand, how-to information. This is THE book to have even if you are not an executor. It will help your entire family. It answers so many questions and takes the mystery out of settling an estate. It's like having an estate attorney in the family. It has helped my family tremendously.

    Books from Nolo Press have always been easy to understand and use. This book is no exception and contiunes their fine tradition of making legal processes accessible to ordinary folks like you and me.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Executor reviews Executor's Review January 9, 2007
    Format:Paperback
    An excellent guide for those of us struggling to manipulate the legal maze of probate. After having read the book, I was able to avoid asking as many questions of an attorney resulting in savings to the estate of hundreds of dollars. More importantly, I was able to deal with heirs and family members in a fair and intelligent manner. No one has been able to complain of things not being explained clearly or of the process moving too slowly. I would recommend the book to anyone who is about to administer an estate.It is a great tool for an heir or family member who simply wants to be better informed.
    Comment | 
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    58 of 69 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Provides A Good Starting Point, But Could Do More March 2, 2006
    Format:Paperback
    This book does a fine job of providing a basic overview of all steps of the probate process and for settling a trust. It is well organized, easy to read, and provides good sources of additional information.

    However, it does not provide advice on how to handle semi-complex situations that often arise during probate or while managing a trust. While very complex questions of law should be left to professionals and not hastily discussed in a do-it-yourself book, some treatment should have been give to such things as how to deal with banks and other holders of property who do not recognize the authority of the trustee or executor or what to do to settle disputes with an attorney-in-fact under a durable power of attorney or between co-trustees.

    I purchased this book because I was looking for a good guide for a trustee who was managing a living trust for a trustor who was declared incompetent. This is an increasingly common situation and the book completely ignores it, instead only discussing trusts in the context settling the trust or a deceased trustor-- as the title of the book suggests.

    This book is great starting point, but if the estate or trust you are settling is not perfectly planned and drafted, you will likely still need the help of a professional.

    Despite the shortcomings, I am yet to find a better guide. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Executor's Guide August 8, 2006
    By Mali
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    I discovered this book in the our city library, and decided to purchase it as I felt that it would be very useful. It covered most of the areas of information an Executor or Trustee would want to know. My neighbor also read the book and some of the subject areas made her decide to go back to an attorney with more questions concerning her current Trust.

    I would highly recommend this book for individuals who may become Executors or Trustees. It covered information in a simplistic manner in lieu of using lawyer language. It also covers tax ramifications but is not the basic goal of this helpful publication.
    Comment | 
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    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference, Some Information Lacking May 14, 2009
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    I read this after also reading the similar Dummies book, and the good thing was that I learned some aspects of managing a Trust from each source. However, this book was lacking in a lot of the details that I'm still trying to fill in, especially dealing with certain tax issues. And, a bit shamelessly, this book promotes a whole line of other Nolo books to buy to fill in these gaps, which in the end you probably need about 3-4 other books, and another $100 or so. I do think the general information given was good, it obviously doesn't address each and every detailed situation that arises.

    I still haven't found a really good source for guidance on bookkeeping/accounting, and there isn't really any software package that I've found that addresses managing a Trust which must make distributions to more than one beneficiary, which means either I haven't been looking hard enough (though I've tried) or that this is such a niche need that it doesn't exist (which is hard to believe).

    Between this and the Dummies book (Estate and Trust Administration for Dummies) I'd actually recommend the Dummies book over this one.
    Comment | 
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    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough Detailed Insight of The Executor's Role January 26, 2007
    Format:Paperback
    I purchased this book in June 2006 along with another Nolo publication called "Get It Together: Organizing Your Records for Loved Ones". Both books offer a treasure trove of information, resources, forms, websites, government agencies, etc. to plan the nuts and bolts of your estate should there be an unfortunate call from the grim reaper for you or close relatives or friends.

    I feel such a sense of freedom and security knowning all my affairs are in order should I be involved in an accident, be incapacitated or die. In addition, I have educated myself now in a cogent state of mind. The Executor's Guide covers a lot of territory, so you do not what to be learning what to do under emotional and tragic circumstances if at all possible.

    Just by looking at the Table of Contents alone, I think it's safe to conclude there will be a number of chapters of where you will have a basic understanding of the title, but lack a more detailed appreciation of the subject matter. All materials are presented in a down to earth style with hints, tricks and traps to avoid along the way.

    Executor's Guide is at it's greatest when discussing an event or responsibility, who does and doesn't need to be involved, discussing the legal ramifications and how the legal system works generally with respect to the event and the next steps to take. Please pickup this excellent resource you can share with others in your family or friends, so you can effectively deal with someone's estate if you are asked and learn some tips to manage your own records.
    Comment | 
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect help for an executor settling an estate
    Great reference book to help negotiate settling an estate including info on Trusts. It helped us do as much as possible on our own and minimize attorney fees for the few items that... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Janet K.
    5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and easy to understand
    This book is written in an easy to understand format. I did buy the 4th edition 2010 version to save some money, but the links and references included will be current. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by NM Norma
    4.0 out of 5 stars Guide for Executor's
    This will come in handy when I need it, learned several useful things for pre-planning as well! A must have for future and current executor's
    Published 4 months ago by Cynthia A. Morrell
    5.0 out of 5 stars My Trustee bible
    I have been placed in charge of my parents Trust since they've passed :'( This book has helped me understand all the legal jargon so well and is user friendly. Read more
    Published 14 months ago by Sal
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Executor's Guide is very useful
    The Executor's Guide is complete & very useful for those inheriting a trust. I found the samples & instructs the most useful. Good Stuff!
    Published 15 months ago by calcareermom
    5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for Boomers and their aging parents!
    Great book for anyone facing these issues with their parents! What you don't know can cost you big time. Read more
    Published 16 months ago by Denise Masotto
    5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone that is an executor needs this information
    This publication has kept our family on both sides from calling our lawyers at great expense. When both people in a couple are executors as much of the details available makes the... Read more
    Published 20 months ago by Cynthia A. Luisotti
    5.0 out of 5 stars Saved the day
    Preparing for a family members passing and then my worries over probate, etc. was all relieved due to this books ability to answer all of the questions I had and then some. Read more
    Published on March 28, 2012 by Doc
    5.0 out of 5 stars Someday, you may need this book. Be prepared.
    I love the NOLO books, which are written for average Joe's and Josephine's who need to do complicated things. Read more
    Published on September 15, 2011 by Dan Huse
    5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional resource
    Like everything I've seen from NOLO Press, this is a great resource guide to a complex subject at a troubling time. Highly recommended.
    Published on September 9, 2011 by R. Goldberg
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