Losing a spouse, parent, child or other family member can be one of the most difficult events in a person’s life. Not only are you likely experiencing grief and overwhelming loss, but you may also have to navigate the legal system as the executor or estate administrator.
If a loved one or the courts select you to manage the administration of an estate, then you should understand the basic responsibilities of this role. Below, we break these responsibilities into three different categories.
Some of the most critical tasks to complete involve managing the deceased’s assets. As an executor, you will typically need to:
- Find the assets
- Keep them safe until they are distributed
- Decide to sell or keep assets
- Continue to pay necessary bills
- Pay taxes
- Ensure assets are properly transferred
An executor’s job will require a fair amount of completing and submitting various types of paperwork. This might include:
- Notifying creditors of a death
- Filing the will in probate court, if necessary
- Contacting banks and government entities to inform them of the death
- Terminating leases and other contracts
- Keeping accurate records
Addressing personal relationships and affairs
There are also some personal details to which you may need to attend as the executor. For instance, you may need to:
- Contact beneficiaries and heirs
- Supervise the transfer of assets and properties to the intended recipients
- Maintain communication with others, including fiduciaries and family members
- Take over and/or close a person’s personal and social media accounts
Legal guidance and estate administration
Being the administrator of an estate can be a challenging position, especially if you have never played this role before. Because of this, legal guidance from an attorney experienced in estate planning can prove to be quite valuable.
With some preparation, support and guidance, you can fulfill your duties more easily. If you have any questions about administering an estate, or if you want to discuss concerns about who to choose as an executor, then you can discuss the laws and procedures with an attorney.