When someone passes away, the person who is in charge of the estate is known as the estate executor. This person is also sometimes called a personal representative or an estate administrator. Regardless of the specific title that you’ve been assigned, if this is your job, you need to know exactly what duties you’ll need to carry out.
Ideally, you and the other individual have talked a bit about this in advance when you agreed to be the estate executor. But it’s still wise to sit down and consider exactly how the probate process works and what you’ll need to do.
Ensuring that the will is followed
In a general sense, the big thing that you have to do is just to make sure that the will is followed as the person intended. That individual made an estate plan and they had specific things they wanted to accomplish. You simply go through the process after the fact to ensure that this occurs.
Inventorying and distributing assets
For example, one of the first things you are going to do is make an inventory of the assets that are listed in the will. Just because they are listed doesn’t mean that they can be located easily. It can sometimes take time to determine if certain assets may have left the estate – and the plan wasn’t updated – or if they’ve just been misplaced. But after you’ve inventoried them, then it’s your job to distribute them to the heirs who are assigned them in the estate plan.
Taken care of responsibilities
The state executor also has to consider the responsibilities that the other party had that they can no longer address on their own. For example, you may discover that they still have to make mortgage payments, pay property taxes, pay off credit card bills, transfer money between bank accounts and things of this nature. As the estate executor, you simply use the assets in the estate to take care of the debts that estate may hold. You should do this before distributing those assets to the heirs, as noted above.
Do you have any questions?
This can be a complicated process, and you know how important it is to get it right. If you have any questions about how this works, it’s best to look into all of the necessary legal steps in advance so that you know exactly what to do as the estate executor.