One of the most important decisions an individual has to make when creating your estate plan is deciding who will be the estate’s executor, also known as a personal representative in many states.

This person is the individual who will be essentially closing up the estate, making sure everything is distributed and paid for accordingly. It is an important job, but what all does this person do? Below are the listed responsibilities of an executor.

1. Obtain the Will and File with Probate Court

One of the very first things the executor needs to do following the deceased’s passing is to get the original will or a copy if the original cannot be located and file the document with probate court.

If the testator wants to make this job easier for the executor, the following steps can be helpful:

  • Notify the executor of where the original will is kept, either in a safe box or some other secure location;
  • Provide him or her with a copy of the document for his or her own safe keeping; or
  • Give the executor the name and contact information for the attorney who helped prepare the document.

2. Prepare an Inventory of All Assets and Debts

The next step an executor must take is to bring all of the estate assets and debts together. The executor will need to make sure everything is accounted for and listed out in order to properly administer the estate.

Also, the executor will need a list of all of current debts and obligations to ensure that everything continues to be paid until the estate can be closed.

3. File Inventory with Probate Court

In most states, an inventory of the assets and debts is required to be filed at the start of the process. When all is said and done, the executor will later need to inform the court that all assets and debts have been handled and closed properly.

This requirement might be waived by the court but it is always best to make sure you have accurate records of everything in case any heir or beneficiary has a question.

4. Get Copies of Death Certificate and Notify All Needed Parties

The executor will need to notify all government agencies, including the social security administration, as well as the bank and any other financial institution of the deceased’s passing.

All debts and financial obligations, including credit card companies, will also need to be notified of the deceased’s passing to begin the process of closing up the account and paying off outstanding obligations.

5. Open an Estate Bank Account

The executor will then need to open up a checking account under the estate. This account will be where any incoming paychecks or funds will be deposited.

As accounts are closed and money received, the executor will put this money into an estate account to use later. If there is a home that still needs to be maintained and sold, money from this account can be used to pay utilities and mortgages while the home is being sold.

6. Maintain the Property while It is Sold

The executor will be responsible for keeping the house up until it is sold, making sure that the property is well-kept, utilities paid and home shown. Any other property will need to be maintained, as well, including valuables that may need to be stored until distributed.

7. Pay Estate Debts and Taxes

After filing the will and opening the probate estate, the executor is also in charge of filing the final income tax returns. The executor will also be in charge of paying off all creditors who have rightful claims to the estate.

The executor may also be charged with paying state and/or federal estate tax returns. If he or she is working with a probate attorney, he or she can have assistance in doing all of these tasks.

Contact Brian M. Douglas, LLC today

If you are not sure you need an attorney, you can always come in for a consultation to discuss your situation. Please contact our office if you or someone you know has recently been appointed personal representative of a loved one’s estate and has questions about what to do next.

Call us today at (770) 933-9009 or contact us online to schedule your consultation with a Greater Atlanta area probate lawyer today.