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5 things your executor of the estate should know

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2023 | Estate Planning

An executor is a person who is responsible for administering the testator’s estate once they pass away. The executor of the estate is typically named in a will before the testator’s death.

There’s a lot that an executor has to accomplish to settle an estate. It may behoove the testator to discuss certain matters with their executor. Here’s what you should know:

How and why they need to collect your death certificate

The executor should collect multiple copies of the testator’s death certificate. If a funeral home does not provide a copy of the death certificate, the executor may find it at local state and county vital records offices. Banks, creditors and life insurers use death certificates to confirm the condition of the testator. The executor can also collect benefits, such as insurance proceeds and veteran’s benefits.

Where to find your will

The testator should discuss with the executor as to where their will can be found. The will is the most important document needed to start the distribution process and fulfill the testator’s last wishes. If the will is lost, the testator will die intestate. Intestate means the estate is handled by the state, which also means assets may be distributed to heirs and not beneficiaries. 

Why they need to submit your will to probate court

Once a valid will is found, the executor can submit the legal document to the probate court, which begins the probate process. Probate allows the executor to fulfill the rest of their fiduciary duties, such as distribution of the estate and contracting heirs. 

What assets they need to protect

The testator and executor may also need to discuss what assets are most important to protect and how to locate certain investments. Some assets may be harder to find otherwise, such as property investments.

Who will benefit from your estate

It may help the executor if the testator gives a list of people they should contact after their passing. This may need to include a list of beneficiaries and people who may wish to attend their funeral. 

Testators who are not sure about the duties of their executor and wish to learn more about the process may need to reach out for legal help.