Taking on the duties of an executor of a loved one’s estate can be very stressful and time-consuming. In addition, the executor’s role can often be extremely complicated. However, if you organize and deal with your duties methodically, you can ease the burden of the responsibility by a significant amount.
As the legal representative of the decedent’s estate, it will fall to you to protect all of the property and other assets that belong to the estate during the probate process up until the entire estate is distributed among the heirs and beneficiaries. To keep things on track and the process running smoothly, here are a few tips that can help you.
Get extra copies of the death certificate
Part of your duties as executor will include notifying banks, insurers, the Social Security Administration and other entities about the passing of the decedent. You will also be responsible for filing the final tax returns for the individual and the estate. To complete these duties, you must provide copies of the death certificate. To ensure that you have enough copies, calculate how many you think you will need and double it when you submit your request to the funeral home. This will save you time from having to request additional copies at a later date while you are juggling your duties as executor.
Locate the will
The person who notifies you that you are the executor of the estate most likely will know the location of the will and other estate plan documents. If you do not know the location of the will, be sure to ask this person where it is. Once you have the will, obtain certified copies so that you have these on hand in case you need to submit a copy to the probate court or other authority.
Protect the assets
In addition to the above, it will also be your responsibility to locate the assets that belong to the estate and to protect them. The decedent may have even left a detailed list of assets and their locations so that you will have an easier time during this part of the process. Some of the assets that might be included on such a list are bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, collectibles and business interests.
If you have been named the executor of a loved one’s estate, the above tips can help you stay organized during the process. Some extra organizing and planning will go a long way to reduce the stress and complications that go hand in hand with being an executor of an estate.