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First 3 things you must do as a will executor

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Estate Administration And Probate |

Losing a loved one is a heartbreaking experience. Amidst your grief, you have a serious duty when you are named as the will executor. Being responsible for administering will comes with a lot of responsibilities. You have the crucial role of identifying and organizing the deceased’s assets, as well as notifying the beneficiaries regarding the estate’s distribution.

In this confusing situation, here are the first three things you must do to carry out the deceased’s final wishes accordingly.

Review the will

Even if you had discussed the will beforehand with your loved one, it is wise to review the will thoroughly after their passing. This document outlines the deceased’s wishes regarding important matters. It could indicate their preferences for their wake, a list of properties, the location of important documents and instructions on the distribution of assets among their heirs. The will could also explain their special instructions, such as when they exclude a family member from the list of beneficiaries or when they donate a part of their asset to a charity.

Understanding your loved one’s final wishes could help you administer their will accurately and prevent possible probate complications. If the will contains unclear instructions, it would be beneficial to seek the guidance of legal professionals to ensure that everything will be in order.

Obtain necessary documentation

Documents are necessary when administering an estate plan. First on the list is their death certificate. This vital document is essential when processing claims for the deceased’s life insurance, accessing financial accounts, closing subscriptions and notifying relevant organizations A death certificate is also needed when initiating the probate process, which is required before you can officially administer the estate.

Initiate the probate process

To validate the will and officially start processing the distribution of the deceased’s assets, you must file their will and death certificate to the probate court. Initiating the probate process is just the beginning of your legal duty as an executor. Among a handful of responsibilities, you would have to set up an estate account, pay taxes, pay bills and debts, notify the beneficiaries and distribute the assets. Depending on the amount of assets, the probate process could be as simple as submitting a sworn statement. Sometimes, it could get complicated and lengthy, especially when beneficiaries contest the will. It would be best if you braced yourself for possible conflicts.

Being named executor of a loved one’s will is an honor, but it comes with significant responsibilities. While no one could be entirely ready to administer an estate plan, taking these three critical steps could lessen the worry of being an executor.