What are your first steps as an executor?

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2021 | Probate and Estate Administration

If your loved one has passed away, you may have suddenly discovered that you were named as the executor of the estate. That can be an overwhelming task at a time when you are dealing with grief and loss.

As a newly appointed executor, you should first know that you do have a right to turn down this position if necessary. The court can appoint another party to take over this role if you don’t feel confident that you can handle it yourself.

If you do want to continue on as the executor of the estate, there are some steps you’ll need to take.

Your job as an executor

Your job as an executor begins with obtaining a copy of your loved one’s death certificate. You’ll need to get this from the funeral home.

Always ask for multiple copies, so that you can send those certificates out to the people who need them. That might include sending out certificates to the Social Security Administration or to the Internal Revenue Service.

Setting up your loved one’s funeral is a priority for an executor

After your loved one dies, you’ll take the next step to set up your loved one’s funeral. If they had a preference for their funeral, make sure you communicate what their wishes were to the funeral home.

Filing the will in probate court

Next, you will need to file the will in probate court. Sometimes, the assets in the estate will pass easily thanks to trusts or other steps taken to bypass probate, but you will still need to file the will with the court.

This starts the process in which you need to locate assets and manage their distribution. It’s your job to take steps to pay off debts and to pass out assets in accordance with your loved one’s wishes. If you make mistakes, you could be responsible for them in the future. That’s why many people choose to work with legal support during this time. That way, you can protect yourself while also being able to have access to guidance to help you get through this complicated task.