Duties of an Executor

Collect Assets and Information:
  • Locate original Will and file and/or probate in the Surrogate’s office
  • Locate and inventory all of the assets of the estate, including:
  • Bank accounts, pension benefits and retirement accounts, stocks and bonds, Social Security benefits, veteran’s benefits, vehicles, furniture, jewelry, and other valuable possessions
  • Obtain death certificate, life insurance claim forms (if estate is beneficiary or if no living beneficiary), Social Security burial allowance if applicable
  • Assemble deeds, abstracts, lease contracts, and insurance policies for each piece of real estate
  • Locate names and addresses of all heirs, beneficiaries, and next of kin
Determine Debts and other Claims against the Estate:
  • Determine current bills owed, such as doctor, hospital, rent, etc.
  • Check status of decedent’s credit or debit accounts
  • Research other debts that exist, e.g., mortgage, bank loans, life insurance loans
  • Obtain receipts for every bill paid and keep a record of payments
Manage the Estate:
  • Obtain Federal Tax ID# at www.irs.gov
  • Set up an estate account
  • Register stocks, bonds; arrange for collection of dividends and interest
  • Have items of property appraised
  • Calculate value of estate and probable state and federal taxes
  • Determine and pay all necessary taxes, including state inheritance and estate taxes, if applicable
  • Prepare estate’s income tax return in addition to the last income tax return of decedent
  • Pay real estate taxes, if necessary
Distribute the Estate:
  • Determine who is entitled to share in the estate
  • Determine how the assets will be distributed
  • Pay all final bills
  • Transfer and re-register securities
  • Prepared detailed accounting for heirs and beneficiaries of estate. If ordered by the court, also prepare formal accounting for court approval.

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