Understanding Your Role as Executor
When a friend or a loved one asks you to serve as the executor of their estate, you may be inclined to immediately agree, due to the nature of your relationship with that person. However, you may really understand what your duties may entail until the time comes to fulfill the role, whether you are prepared or not. An experienced probate law attorney can help you learn about the role of executor, and will remain at your side, assisting you throughout the process.
Upon the death of the person for whom you are serving as executor, you are responsible for:
Locating the Will: It will be up to you to know where to find the decedent’s original will. This often means re-verifying the location from time to time while the person is alive. It will also be helpful for you to read the will in advance so that you are familiar with its terms and provisions. You will need to present the will for probate, often with the help of an attorney familiar with that area of the law.
Death Certificates: You will also need to obtain several certified copies of the death certificates. These will be necessary to close certain accounts and to allow you access to assets and necessary records.
Inventorying and Securing the Estate: As executor, it will be your job to put together a comprehensive list of all of the decedent’s assets and obligations. This may require a bit of research, but it is important to take an organized approach. You will probably need to examine bank records, investment statements, retirement accounts, and even tax returns to establish what exactly is to be distributed to beneficiaries. It is also important to ensure the assets, especially real estate and property like vehicles, are secure and are not compromised in any way before the allocation process.
A List of Beneficiaries and Others: Of course, in any will or probate situation, it is necessary to maintain an up-to-date list of heirs and beneficiaries. It is also important to keep track of other interested parties as well, including family members not listed in the will, advisors, account managers, agents and more.
Tracking Your Time and Costs: When you agree to serve as executor, you are not expected to donate your time or to make out-of-pocket expenditures. You may decide not to pursue reimbursement for the time spent fulfilling your duties, but you are entitled to compensation from the estate for any costs incurred. Keep an accurate record of your time and expenses so that, if you need it, you are prepared.
Find a Qualified Attorney
One of the most crucial aspects of the probate process is having the right legal guidance. For reliable answers to your questions about the role of executor, contact an Orland Park probate attorney. Call 708-518-8200 for your free consultation today.