Has a loved one named you as the executor of their estate? This is not an easy role, and it can be overwhelming. From legal paperwork to taxes, there are many details to look after.
It’s a big responsibility, but there are steps you can take to ensure you correctly carry out the role’s requirements.
Duties of an executor
Your first step as executor is to have the will validated. The way to do this is by filing a petition with the circuit court in the county or city of the deceased. This document officially states why probate should occur, showing who the deceased’s heirs and beneficiaries are. Once it has been successfully filed, the court will grant access to any assets and allow you to begin your duties in earnest.
Once the will is legally validated and accepted, it’s important to identify all assets and liabilities associated with the individual. Assets could include investments, bank accounts, homes or personal property, while liabilities might consist of unpaid debts, taxes, mortgages or other loans. During this time it is essential to notify creditors who may be owed money to alert them of their legal rights. You’ll also need to pay any outstanding debts and taxes the estate owes.
After debt and taxes are paid, you can begin distributing the estate assets according to the instructions left behind by the deceased person. This process can be demanding and challenging, as some loved ones may feel hurt or angry at how the assets are distributed. Still, the executor must adhere to the decedent’s wishes to ensure that extensive legal battles do not arise.
Being an executor is a big responsibility, but it’s also a great opportunity to help someone you care about and honor their last wishes. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, resources are available to assist you with the task. With a little bit of planning and hard work, you’ll be able to settle the estate quickly and efficiently.