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What you need to do as an estate executor

You've been made the executor of an estate, but what does that really mean? Are you going to have a lot of legal items to handle? Yes, and fortunately, your attorney can help you work through this process to make sure you get everything done on time and by the books.

An executor is the person who will be entrusted to make sure a person's will is carried out as he or she intended after death. As an executor, you're entrusted with a large responsibility; that person can't be there to settle disagreements or to finalize bill payments. You need to make sure property and possessions belonging to the deceased are distributed according to the will, but there are also other things you must do.

You will need to identify and locate assets, first. You are the person responsible for keeping those assets safe until they can be properly distributed. That may mean picking up assets immediately following the person's death or locking down a house to make sure no one can get inside until the assets are ready to be divided. Since you're in charge of the management of assets, you can also decide which assets to keep and which to sell.

The next step to figure out if you need to get the will approved in court. If there's no question of the validity, then you can contact those who are listed in the will and who are meant to inherit property or money.

You are also responsible for taking care of affairs like closing bank accounts or canceling credit cards. You'll pay the deceased's final income tax payment and pay off the debts owed to creditors. There are other things you may be expected to do, but these are some of the basics.

Source: FindLaw, "What Does an Executor Do?," accessed July 08, 2016

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