Being appointed executor of someone else’s estate is both a burden and honor because you’ll be responsible for safeguarding the deceased person’s estate, which is an easy or complicated task, depending on specific circumstances. While safeguarding the estate is your main concern, this job comes with other tasks including:
- Locating the assets of the deceased individual and managing them until you could distribute them to inheritors. You might have to decide whether to sell some assets or keep them.
- Deciding whether you need to go to probate court or not. Majority of assets that are owned jointly will go to the surviving co-owner, without needing probate, and if the assets of the deceased individual amounts to less than a specific amount, it might only have to go through streamlined probate, explains a renowned probate lawyer in Denver.
- Determining who inherits the assets. If there’s a will, the heirs would be specified in the document. Otherwise, the administrator would have to follow the state’s intestate succession laws to determine the heirs.
- Filing the will in local probate court. Note that you still have to do this even if the estate won’t be passing through probate.
- Setting up a bank account for the estate to hold money, such as stock dividends or paychecks, owed to the deceased individual.
- Paying debts and notifying creditors of the probate proceeding if applicable.
- Paying ongoing expenses, such as homeowner’s insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and utility bills, with money from the estate funds.
- Paying taxes. This includes a final ITR or income tax return as well as federal and state tax returns if the estate reaches a certain threshold.
- Managing other details such as notifying government agencies and banks of the death as well as terminating credit cards and leases, etc.
- Supervising the property distribution in accordance with the deceased individual’s will.
As you can see, it’s immensely vital that you pay close attention to every little detail to make sure that you carry out the deceased individual’s wishes. Whether you’ve just found out that you’ve been appointed an executor or you’re writing your own will, it’s best that you consult an experienced lawyer to help you through the process and ensure that you’ve got all your bases covered.