As the executor of a will, you carry a heavy responsibility. How do you execute the will? Is there anyone who can help you? The following are some steps to getting started.
1. Find and Read Over the Last Will and Testament
If you do not already have a copy of the last will and testament of the deceased, you will need to locate it. He or she may have placed a copy in an at-home filing cabinet, in a work drawer, at his or her lawyer’s office or in a safe deposit box.
After you have found it, take some time to read it over. Start organizing the information you read, making lists of people and groups who will receive any assets, gifts, property or other items. Contact the deceased’s attorney, the witnesses to the signing of the will and the deceased’s family to ensure the provisions are in order.
2. File the Will
Take the last will and testament to the county probate court where the deceased lived and file it with the court. This gives you official authority to execute the will. There are some forms you will need to provide the court in addition to the original will, and you should also include the list you wrote out.
3. Open an Estate Bank Account
Because you’ll be managing all the assets of the deceased, you can open an estate bank account from which you can effectively do so. This account will be used to pay debts, car payments and other payments. It will also be used for wages, life insurance and other deposits.
4. Pay Off Debts
Any debts the deceased had should be paid off first. This is to ensure creditors are given what they are owed before gifting and other frivolous measures are taken. As the executor, it is your responsibility to contact all creditors to let them know when they can collect on the debts.
5. Handle Daily Affairs
If your loved one had any club memberships, cable, credit cards, subscriptions or other monthly bills, you will need to finalize and close those accounts. This is a great time to contact health care providers as well, ensuring they receive payment.
6. Distribute Remaining Assets
Once all the necessities have been taken care of, you will take any remaining assets and distribute them as the deceased requested. You might give a portion of money to his or her children, you might donate it to charity and you might even collect an executor fee yourself.
Receiving Help From an Attorney
Estate planning lawyers are experts at handling these situations. If you are named as executor of a will, contact an attorney, like an estate lawyer in Allentown, PA, today for help in ensuring everything is handled correctly and legally.
Thank you to Klenk Law for their insight into estate law.