Congrats! You are a new executor of someone’s will. You may be wondering what an executor is exactly, and what you need to do when a person dies.
First of all, if you were chosen as an executor, the person who drafted the will has much respect for you. They consider you a very reliable person and trust you to handle their business. As an executor, you are the head honcho (or honcha?) in charge. You will pay all debts and taxes for the dead person, take inventory of the assets, file any lawsuits for claims owed to the person’s property, and make sure that all assets are distributed to any beneficiaries according to the dead person’s wishes. You will also manage the probate process.
Here are the basic steps you’ll take as the executor:
1. File an application to probate the will with the appropriate court in the county where the decedent lived.
2. Wait patiently for two weeks as the court posts notice that the will has been entered into probate. This is done to ensure that no one contests the will.
3. Take inventory of any assets and prepare a list of claims and inventory and appraisement of all assets and debts.
Note: This step may not be necessary. For instance, it will not be required if the will does not require the filing of the inventory or if there are no unpaid debts aside from taxes, secured debts, etc. You may have to file an Affidavit in Lieu of Inventory.
4. Work with an attorney to ensure that beneficiaries are identified and contacted. If you can’t find a beneficiary, the court will require newspaper notice.
5. You’ll need to contact creditors to let them know that the person has died.
6. Work with the probate court to resolve any disputes (forgeries, incorrect will executions, the existence of multiple wills, etc.).
Being an executor is an essential and respectable position, and when someone chooses you for this role, you should be honored.
The probate process can be confusing. It helps to have competent counsel on your side. At Ibekwe Law, PLLC we can explain the process and help ensure that wishes are carried out.