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The estate executor's action plan

If you are the executor of a deceased loved one's estate, you carry a lot of responsibility. There are several steps that you will need to carry out to successfully complete your duties.

What follows is a list of the typical duties of an estate representative or executor in Florida probate proceedings.

A checklist for Florida executors

This is essentially a checklist, or action plan, that Florida executors can use to manage the completion of their responsibilities:

  1. Get a copy of the most recent will. Read the will and ensure that you fully understand what it says.
  2. File a petition to begin probate with the appropriate court. This petition will admit the will into the probate process.
  3. Collect the assets of the decedent.
  4. Take possession of any safety deposit boxes.
  5. Call banks and financial institutions and identify all financial accounts and loans.
  6. Look for cash and valuables in the home.
  7. Transfer securities into the name of the executor and continue to collect interest and dividends.
  8. Find all paperwork relating to leases, mortgages, real estate deeds and tax info.
  9. Manage rental properties.
  10. Make arrangements for the administration of out-of-state real estate property.
  11. Collect any monies owed to the deceased.
  12. Collect life insurance proceeds that will be paid to the estate.
  13. Inventory household items, personal possessions and all other assets. Appraise valuable objects.
  14. Determine any business interests.
  15. Determine what liquidity exist and sell assets as needed to pay off debts and bills.
  16. Pay any claims against the estate that are valid and defend the estate against invalid claims.
  17. Pay federal and state taxes owed.
  18. File the final income tax return for the estate of the decedent.
  19. Does the estate qualify for any tax cuts, deductions or exemptions?
  20. Is there a surviving spouse? Can he or she qualify for a domestic trust as a way to defer federal estate taxes?
  21. File any related federal or state estate tax returns, death tax returns, etc., where necessary.
  22. Maintain a statement that includes all disbursements and receipts pertaining to the estate -- including executors' fees and attorneys' fees (if any).
  23. Distribute remaining assets to heirs as per the mandates of the will.

Learn more about how to administer an estate

Administering an estate can be a complicated process, and the more valuable the estate happens to be, the more difficult the process becomes. When Florida estate executors fully understand each step of the estate administration process, they will be able to navigate the probate process more effectively.

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