Named The Executor Of An Estate? Know Your Responsibilities During Probate

Posted on: 31 March 2021

If you were asked to be the executor of a loved one's estate, you are likely wondering what you will have to do to carry out your responsibilities. Here is an overview of what you are expected to do during the probate process. 

Read The Will

The first thing that you are going to do is read the will that has been left behind after your loved one passes away. This will let you know what their wishes are and allow you to start the probate process. You'll then need to meet with family members and find an attorney to help guide you through the process. Hopefully, your loved one said in their will that they wanted you to be the executor of their estate to avoid any confusion. 

Open The Probate Case

The next step will be to open the probate case, which is known as filing a petition for probate with the court system. This is something that should mostly be carried out by your probate lawyer, so thankfully there is not much involvement on your part. At this point you will be officially appointed as the executor in the probate process.

Inventory All Assets

You will next be responsible for inventorying all assets that your loved one had, which will be divided appropriately in the probate process. This involves creating a list of all their personal property, which includes jewelry, vehicles, furniture, and things in their home. You'll also need to figure out what financial accounts they have, such as cash in savings accounts, stocks, live insurance policies, and retirement accounts. Real estate property will also need to be appraised to determine how much the property is actually worth. 

Pay Debts And Taxes

All the debts and taxes that belong to the estate will need to be paid off before assets can be divided. Cash on hand will be used to pay off these debts, but assets may need to be liquidated in some situations. You'll also need to publish notices of your loved one's death so that creditors are allowed to make a claim about debts that are owed to them.

Distribute Remaining Property

Once all debts are settled you can then start distributing the remaining property according to the will. If there are not specific beneficiaries listed in the will, there are laws that state the legal order of who the remaining property will go to.

Contact a probate law attorney near you to learn more.