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You're executor of an estate, now what?

When it comes to dealing with an estate of a deceased individual, a substantial amount of responsibility goes to the executor. Commonly, the creator of the will names a spouse, child or other close relative to act as the executor. If someone has asked you to take on such a position, you may wonder what responsibilities that entails and what may be expected of you.

Executor responsibilities can range across a variety of duties. Most of the duties revolve around ensuring that the deceased's estate closes in the manner he or she desired and that no loose financial ends cause issue. Specific actions include:

  • Obtain a copy of the will
  • Submit the will to the court for probate
  • Collect, protect and administer assets as dictated
  • Maintain property until the estate closes
  • Handle debts and other claims against the estate
  • Recognize and reject false claims against the estate
  • Pay due taxes and bills
  • Appear on behalf of the estate in court

In addition to these tasks, you will also need to attend to the related paperwork as the estate moves through probate court. The possibility also exists that conflicts relating to the estate, your decisions regarding the estate or details of the will could arise. If such disputes or conflicts do come about, you will have responsibilities in addressing those issues, and litigation may take place.

Of course, you may feel concerned about accepting a role with such important responsibilities. Therefore, you may wish to remember that you could reject the request if you feel the position does not suit you or your circumstances. Additionally, if you already accepted the role but later feel you cannot perform the necessary tasks, you may resign from the position.

Feeling overwhelmed? Help and support is readily available

If you do wish to take on the responsibility, you do not have to feel alone in the process. You may seek assistance from professionals who may have the ability to provide useful financial information or other knowledge relating to your duties as executor.

If you would like more information on your potential roles as an executor, you may wish to consult with an experienced South Dakota attorney. A knowledgeable attorney could provide useful information and also help you ensure that you take care of all the necessary tasks for putting your loved one's estate to rest. Additionally, an attorney could provide much needed support if conflicts or disputes come about relating to the estate.

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