If you have recently lost a close friend or family member, you know first-hand the difficulties that come with such a loss. People have different ways of grieving and can be hard to handle the emotions associated with losing someone, especially if you are responsible for making critical decisions regarding funeral plans, finances and distribution of property.

The executor of the estate must handle a myriad of tasks and resolve issues dealing with the estate. The deceased may have named an estate executor is his or her last will and testament. However, if one was not named, one may be appointed by the court. If you are named the estate executor, it is critical that you understand your responsibilities.

After being named the estate executor, you must gather certain documents, including the following:

  • Death certificate
  • Life insurance policies
  • Last will and testament

In some cases, the estate may be forced through the probate process, which helps distributes property left in the last will and testament.

During the probate process, you must gather all assets and property to determine the full value of the estate. Any debts or expenses owed are then paid out of the estate’s value. It is also the responsibility of the estate executor to keep all of the property and assets safe from theft and vandalism during the procedures.

Next, it is important to track down the beneficiaries named in the will. The remaining items are then distributed to the proper heirs. The executor must be organized, detail-oriented and have the time necessary to dedicate to this arduous task.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.