When a friend or loved one dies, you may find yourself appointed to be the executor of the estate. This sounds like a difficult job, but the scope of the duties depends on the size of the estate. In most cases, your duties can be broken down into a few simple steps that can be accomplished with the help of the estate attorney. Read on to find out what the steps to execute an estate are.
Submit the Will
Once the will is located, it must be filed with the probate court. With will in hand, set up a meeting between you, the attorney, and everyone named in the will. The will should be read, and then the attorney will file the will in your local county probate office. Though the beneficiaries will know what to expect, you cannot distribute the property of the estate until probate is over or the probate court allows it. Dealing with an estate also involves paying the bills of the estate, and the attorney will probably place a notice in a local publication asking any interested creditors to come forward with any claims on the estate.
Inventory and Attend to the Estate
The word "estate" can be off-putting, but it really just means all of the property and the debts held by the deceased. One important function of the executor is to provide the probate courts with a listing of all property valued at certain minimum amounts. You might not need to list every piece of Tupperware, but you should list anything of value or that is specifically mentioned in the will. Real estate often comprises a large portion of the estate, and your probate court may require you to have a professional appraisal performed.
Additionally, you must see to the property during probate and pay the bills of the estate. If the grass needs cutting or the heating system breaks down, it is your responsibility to see to it. Some bills must be paid now, but many are left until later on in the probate process; the estate attorney will guide you in this area. You can expect, however, that any taxes due must be paid before probate can be complete.
Distribute the Estate
Once probate has run its course, it is your task to allow the beneficiaries access to their property. Copies of the death certificate may be needed to have things like vehicles transferred on titles, and real estate deeds will need to be updated.
Talk to the estate attorney to answer any further questions or address any other concerns about overseeing this estate.
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