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Do you know what to do as an executor of an estate?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2023 | Probate

The executor of the estate is the person who is selected to administer the testator’s financial affairs after their passing. 

While anyone above the legal age can become an executor, not everyone is fit to be an executor. However, it’s possible to learn how to be an executor and fulfill the deceased’s last wishes. Here’s what you should know:

7 steps to being an executor

There’s a lot that an executor is responsible for handling. Here are just a few of the requirements: 

  1. Locate the will: The executor must find the will after the testator’s passing. Many testators disclose the location of their will so that the executor can easily find it. However, if the will cannot be found, the executor may find a copy at a county clerk’s office. 
  2. Submit the will to probate court: Once the will is found and the executor verifies that it is valid, they can submit the will to probate court. In South Carolina, the executor has 30 days from the date of the testator’s death to submit the will
  3. Collect death certificates: The executor is also responsible for collecting the deceased’s death certificates. Death certificates can be collected at the funeral home or the county vital records office. 
  4. Contact banks, creditors and other interested parties: The death certificates are used to contact interested parties to inform them of the testator’s death. The executor may need to reach out to the testator’s bank and any creditors. It may also be required to contact the testator’s landlord and utility services.
  5. Locate assets: The will should have some details about what assets the testator intends to give to beneficiaries. If necessary, the executor may need to locate certain assets to protect in preparation for the distribution process. The executor may also need to collect life insurance policies. 
  6. Contact beneficiaries: The executor should reach out to any beneficiaries on the will. The testator may set aside contact information to help with this process. 
  7. Disperse assets: Once the will is submitted and the probate process begins, the executor can disperse assets. For some executors, the distribution process is the final step.

Handling an estate alone can be a lot for an executor, especially if someone is contesting the will. Executors can reach out for legal help if they’re facing difficulties during the process.