Perhaps you felt honored when a loved one asked you to serve as his or her executor. You may have agreed without truly understanding what it would entail.

Now that your loved one passed away, you need to determine whether you can fulfill the duties of the job. Before making your decision, you may want to know to which responsibilities you agreed.

You will have several duties

The simple explanation of what an executor does is that you take care of wrapping up the estate of your loved one. What that actually entails includes the following:

  • Locating and inventorying all assets
  • Locating and notifying all heirs, beneficiaries and creditors
  • Maintaining and protecting those assets until distributed
  • Paying the debts of the decedent
  • Preparing and paying any taxes of the estate
  • Preparing any accountings for the estate
  • Making the necessary court appearances
  • Overseeing the distribution of assets at the end of the probate

Looking at this list, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Unfortunately, this is a simple outline of what could happen during the probate. You will need to have the assets valued, which may involve different processes, depending on the type of property involved. You will also need to prepare any legal transfer of documents when distributions occur. The probate could also become complex if someone decides to contest the will. Heirs and beneficiaries may argue over inheritances. Creditors may enter into the probate, demanding payment.

As you can see, your duties could involve a great deal of time and effort on your part. You should know that it is not a requirement for you to undertake these tasks on your own. You can involve others as needed in order to carry out your duties to the best of your ability. Other New York residents who find themselves serving as executors involve accountants, appraisers and attorneys as needed.

Finding the right support

This is undoubtedly a challenging time for you and your family. You just lost a loved one, and now you have to go through his or her life with a fine-toothed comb. You can decline to serve in this capacity, but you may want to remember that your loved one chose you, and he or she must have thought you could handle the job. To make your life and the process easier, you could enlist the aid and assistance of an experienced estate administration attorney.