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Tips to follow as the executor of an estate

Have you been named the executor of an estate? This is a big responsibility, so you need to know exactly what you are doing at all times. The deceased person thought enough of you to task you with this responsibility, so you want to make all the right decisions.

You are legally responsible for everything from the probate process to ensuring that assets are distributed in the appropriate manner. With all of these responsibilities falling on you, it's imperative to take the right steps at the right time.

Here are some basic steps you can follow to stay on track:

-- Obtain the death certificate.

-- Locate the will or trust.

-- File the will with the probate court in your county.

-- Locate all assets.

-- Make note of any debts that need to be paid.

-- Be patient throughout the process, as it can take many months to reach its conclusion.

Although these steps are a blueprint you can follow, you should expect challenges to pop up along the way. For example, you may find that there are many debts to be paid, such as money to the IRS and credit card companies. If this happens, it can slow everything down.

Being the executor of an estate is a big responsibility. However, it is one that you can handle if you take the right approach.

As long as you know what is expected of you and are prepared to make the right decisions, you will be able to handle every step within the legal limits of the law.

Source: Bankrate, "7 tips for the executor of an estate," accessed Sep. 14, 2016

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