Being the Executor of an estate is not a task to take lightly. An Executor is the person responsible for managing the administration of a deceased individual’s estate. A top probate lawyer Arlington, TX has to offer is more often able to help in this type of legal matter. Although the time and effort involved will vary with the size of the estate, even if you are the executor of a small estate you will have important duties that must be performed correctly or you may be liable to the estate or the beneficiaries.
The executor is either named in the will or if there is no will, appointed by the court. You do not have to accept the position of executor even if you are named in the will. If there is a will, but you don’t already know where the will is or the will hasn’t already been brought to court, you may need to find it among the deceased’s belongings. If all you have is a copy of the will, you may need to get the original from the lawyer who drafted it. You will also need to get a copy of the death certificate.
People often wonder what an Executor’s duties are when probating an Estate. The fact that all estates are different our Firm has gathered a general guide for Executors when settling an Estate. The list is general in nature and is not to be construed as an all-inclusive of the necessary steps for a particular Estate.
- Find the will, if any.
- Notify the post office, utility companies, credit card companies, banks, and other businesses of death.
- Notify the Social Security Administration and any agencies from which the deceased person was receiving benefits.
- Inventory assets and, if necessary, have valuable ones appraised.
- Determine whether probate is necessary; if it is, consult with an attorney.
- If there is a living trust, work with the successor trustee to coordinate bill paying, property management, and other tasks.
- Notify beneficiaries named in the will or people entitled to inherit under state law.
- Take care of estate assets until you turn them over to the beneficiaries.
- Solicit beneficiaries’ input on and consent to important decisions, such as selling assets or changing investments.
- Collect money owed to the estate such as final wages or insurance benefits.
- Pay bills owed by the estate.
- File final income tax returns for the deceased person.
- If the estate was large, file estate tax returns.
- Distribute the assets.
- If the estate earned income between the time of death and the final distribution of assets, file income tax returns for the estate.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their contribution on estate planning and probate law.