As an executor of a loved one’s estate, you have several important duties that you need to follow through on. An executor, sometimes also called an administrator of the estate, performs essential functions to help resolve the estate and take care of debts and the distribution of assets.
There are dozens of things that you may need to do as an executor, which is why it’s usually a good idea to get more guidance before you take on the role. Legally, you’re obligated to carry out many important tasks, and failing to do them correctly could lead to legal trouble.
The top 10 things an executor has to do
Executors have to do many things, but here are the top 10 that may apply to you.
- Get a copy of the last will and testament (if one is available). Read this and be prepared to follow its instructions
- File a petition and get the court to accept the will into probate, so your loved one’s wishes can be known
- Identify and collect all of your loved one’s assets
- Open all safe deposit boxes or other secure items to take possession of the items inside
- Identify all bank accounts and other financial accounts
- Get appraisals on items to find out their value
- Pay creditors and those with claims against the estate
- File the last tax returns for the estate
- Make sure beneficiaries receive the assets they are entitled to
- Pay all final fees, such as attorney’s fees and executor’s fees
There are many other things that you may have to do as an administrator of an estate, but these are some of the basic things that most will need to complete.
It can be overwhelming to be the executor of an estate, but you have the option of seeking support and getting the assistance you need to take care of the estate and protect yourself as you work with your loved one’s items. The right approach at this time could help you settle the estate sooner and move forward in your life.