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Where to start when you are named as executor

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2023 | Estate planning

In many cases, the executor of an estate has no idea of their appointment until the estate owner dies. If you received a notice that you are the executor of the estate of someone who recently passed away, you may not know where to start. The role can seem confusing at first, but it does not have to be.

Here are a few things you should know about serving as executor.

Read the paperwork first

Before you can make any plans or take any actions, you need to understand the wishes of the deceased. Review the estate planning documents, will and any personal communication left for you. This helps you evaluate the scope of the estate to ensure that you can handle it.

Most executorships require anywhere from a few months to a couple of years of time commitment depending on the probate process. Ask for as many copies of the death certificate as the funeral home is willing to give you for free. This saves you from paying for them later.

Make the notifications

Your next task as executor is to make notifications. Alert banking and investment institutions, insurance companies and creditors of the death. You may need a copy of the death certificate to do this. These notifications trigger the distribution of life insurance benefits as well.

Inventory and distribute the assets

Create an inventory of the estate assets and distribute them according to the estate plan and the deceased’s wishes.

Serving as executor is an honor. Keep it simple with these tips.