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What an Executor of a Will Does

What an Executor of a Will Does

After a loved one’s death, the reading and execution of the will might seem like a complicated, if not confusing topic. Most often, wills have to go through probate. Probate is the process that determines how the assets of the deceased will be distributed. The person in charge of handling the will is called the executor. Normally, this person is named in the will. Here is what you need to know about handling the probate process.

The Executor Files the Petition

The executor files a request in the county that the deceased lived in. This paperwork requests that he or she be acknowledged as the executor. In addition, he or she will have to file the will and the death certificate. There will be a hearing to approve the executor and to hear any objections that others might have. Once approved, the probate case begins.

The Executor Collects Assets

It is up to the executor to inventory the assets. These assets may include real estate, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, personal effects, retirement accounts and any other property of the deceased. The executor inventories the assets and appraises said assets before presenting them to court.

The Executor Handles Debts

The executor is also the one who has to collect any money owed to the estate. He or she will also have to figure out how to pay any outstanding bills. He or she has to make sure that the estate’s assets cover the debts. In addition, if the deceased owes any taxes, it is up to the executor to ensure that those taxes are paid.

The Executor Distributes Assets

Once all expenses and debts are paid off, then the executor can determine where the remaining property goes. The executor will most often follow the will. If there is no will or if there is no direction, then the executor decides how to divide the property.

The Executor Closes the Estate

When all of the assets are distributed to family members and friends or amongst charities, then it’s time to close the estate. The executor submits the receipts and asks for the closing. Once this happens, he or she is also asking to have his or her role complete as the executor.

If you are about to step up and handle the probate process, it can be a difficult and complicated legal matter to navigate. Probate takes time and it can be difficult for those who have never dealt with it before. To make matters easier, consult with an estate litigation lawyer in Memphis, TN to help you in regards to handling probate.

Thanks to Patterson Bray for their insight into estate planning and the role of an executor.