Steps To Take After Being Named Executor
It is a big responsibility to be named the executor of someone’s estate. An executor is the person appointed by a decedent in their last will and testament. The role of any executor is to supervise the estate as it goes through the process of probate. During probate, the assets of the decedent are identified, valued, and transferred to new owners. Before estates are administered in this way, creditors can also file claims against the estate. Federal, state, estate, and gift taxes must also be paid before an estate is distributed.
For some people, it is an honor to be appointed executor of someone else’s estate. However, the role does carry a great deal of responsibility. If you have been named executor as someone’s estate, following the below steps can help ensure things proceed smoothly.
Locate Important Documents
The first step to take after being named an executor is to find the important documents pertaining to the estate. Look for a will, as you must submit this to the court to be granted legal authority to act as the executor of the estate. Also look for trust agreements, life insurance policies, and a letter of instruction. A Daytona Beach estate planning lawyer can help you locate certain documents, such as a will.
Secure Major Assets
Throughout the probate process, the executor is responsible for any assets of the estate.You must first identify the major assets of the deceased, and then take steps to secure them. These may include:
- Taking possession of vehicles
- Closing financial accounts
- Making arrangements for the continued operation of any business the deceased owned, and speaking to the employees
- Ensure any real estate property is secured with locks and arranging for maintenance services
Determine Which Assets Must Go Through Probate
Not every asset of an estate must go through the probate process. As such, it is important to classify probate and non-probate assets. This is an important step because if there are enough non-probate assets, the entire estate may be valued at a smaller amount, avoiding the probate process entirely. Some of the most common types of assets that do not require probate include:
- Assets transferred to a legal trust
- Life insurance policy proceeds
- Certain retirement fund accounts
- Accounts designated as payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD)
- Certain assets that are jointly owned
Obtain Copies of the Death Certificate
If you have not done so already, you should obtain the death certificate and make several copies. The probate court will require one when you start the process, and the funeral home will also need one. Other third parties may also request a copy as you continue your role in executor.
Speak to an Estate Planning Lawyer in Orlando
There are many steps to take when named as executor and an Orlando estate planning lawyer can help you through all of them. At Bundza & Rodriguez, our experienced attorneys can help you locate documents, prepare for probate court, and more so the process is as easy as possible for you during this difficult time. Call us now at 386-252-5170 or chat with us online to request a case evaluation and to learn more.