Serving as the executor of an estate is one of the greatest responsibilities that an individual can take on. Being a good executor involves effective time management, organization and personal responsibility. Residents of New York should only take on the role of executor if they are fully aware of all of the responsibilities involved.
Finding the will
Many people keep their will in a safety deposit box at a bank or in a safe place in their home. The first thing the executor of the estate must do is find the original copy of the will. Courts will not accept copies of the will, so getting access to the original is arguably the most important role that an executor can play.
Protect the estate
The executor of the estate is responsible for canceling all credit cards of the deceased, obtaining death certificates and getting paperwork in order. The executor should also be prepared to take other steps to protect the estate. They might consider changing the locks on all the deceased’s doors, dispose of any prescription medications and put all valuables in a safe place.
Submitting the will to court
Filing the will with the local probate court will probably involve some sort of personal expenses. Filing fees are typically the responsibility of the executor, so they should plan on having to spend a small amount up front to file the will. The executor should keep all receipts so that they can recoup these expenses later in the process.
If the testator died with debt, their debtors still expect repayment. Using the assets in the estate to pay all outstanding debts is the sole responsibility of the executor.
The probate and estate administration process is largely a legal matter. Working with an attorney may ensure that the estate does not spend months or years tied up in the probate process.