Taking on the responsibility of being the executor of an estate is a decision that should be given serious thought. Even then, the probate process is such that it still can be difficult to complete once underway. Prospective executors should, therefore, know what they are getting into.

An executor’s duties start soon after a loved one’s passing. The executor will need to ensure that funeral arrangements are made and paid for, that copies of the death certificate are obtained, and that the proper agencies and institutions are notified as soon as possible after the death. For example, if the individual had received government benefits during his or her lifetime, the agencies providing those benefits need to be notified. If any benefits are received after the person’s passing, they must be returned.

The executor will also need to understand the remaining assets of the estate. If the decedent did not create an inventory as part of his or her estate plan, the executor may need to create one. It is also important that the executor has assets appraised and valued as necessary. He also needs to take stock of the remaining debts of the estate.

If the estate is particularly complex, the duties of the executor can last for years. So, the person taking on this role needs to have the time and ability to handle the tasks inherent in the probate process. Of course, the executor need not act alone. Colucci & Gallaher attorneys are available to help executors complete the process as smoothly as possible.