When a person passes away, their estate has to be settled. This liquidates the assets via sale or distribution in a process called estate administration. Thus an individual may have been named because the decedent placed particular trust in that person to carry out final wishes of the testator after his or her death. If you have been named as a personal representative or estate executor, it is your responsibility to manage the entire process.
Randy Doane of Doane & Doane weighs in with some advice. He says:
“As an executor, you are legally responsible for the final administration of the decedent’s estate. You are tasked with everything from obtaining a copy of the will and filing it with the probate court, communicating with beneficiaries, creditors, lawyers, real estate agents and professionals.”
As an executor, you will see some complicated documents such as wills and trusts, as well as needing to appraise and sell the decedent’s property or real estate. It is your job to be organized and keep meticulous records.
Settling an estate can be a lengthy process so you will want to make sure that right away you eliminate unnecessary financial burdens on the estate, such as the decedent’s cell phone and cable bills, magazine or newspaper subscriptions, and more. You will also want to keep in frequent contact with the beneficiaries to put them at ease about the progress or inform them of any delays. And make sure to not distribute assets of any kind until the court directs you to do so.
This is why it is beneficial to work with a professional team, as quite often, executor duties involve teaming up with an attorney, an accountant, a funeral director, a real estate agent, auctioneer, appraiser, and more.
There will be many demands, duties, and responsibilities placed upon you as the executor. And your best move is to have an experienced estate attorney there for you to help guide you through the process.
When you have questions, Doane & Doane will be there for you with the answers. Find them online today at doaneanddoane.com.