When You Are the Executor of a Will: Understanding Your Role to Disburse an Estate

15 March 2017
 Categories: , Blog

If you are the executor of a will, you are assigned the job of handling the estate of the deceased. When the estate is simple and no one is fighting over the assets, you may not need to work with an attorney to get the job done. On the other hand, if the estate is complicated and you have no idea about probate court procedures, working with an attorney is going to help you settle the estate more efficiently. You will be responsible for following proper court procedures and ensuring that all assigned assets are given to the heirs named in the will. When the process of being an executor is too daunting, it's time to contact a probate attorney to discuss your duties. 

Read Over the Will Carefully

Your first job as the named executor is to read over the will and identify any heirs and assets of the estate. You'll need to check on every asset, including bank accounts, life insurance policies, and any other investments that exist. If the will simply gives out a percentage of the estate to each heir, you'll need to liquidate the assets of the estate and come up with a final total. Debts will also need to be gone through, and any debts that the estate is responsible for have to be paid before the estate can be disbursed.

Act as a Mediator

You may be surprised to learn that you are named the executor of an estate, and the heirs may begin calling you to find out when they are going to get their money. If people start arguing and you don't know how to handle it, it's time to get an attorney to help you handle the estate. You will then be able to direct heirs to the attorney with questions instead of dealing with them directly.

An executor of an estate is responsible for paying off the debt, liquidating assets that are not being inherited directly, and ensuring that all heirs receive their correct share of the estate. When the estate is complicated and includes all kinds of assets, it can be difficult for one person to go through all the paperwork.

If you are overwhelmed with the process, talk to an attorney like those at Leon J Teichner & Associates, P.C. on behalf of the estate to help you get the work done. The estate covers the cost of an attorney, and you will be able to settle the estate correctly without as much stress.