If you are the executor of an estate, then your duties will kick in upon the death of the estate owner. Your first duty is to file the proper paperwork and documents with the court, but your obligations to the estate do not end there.
Kiplinger explains that you become the manager of the estate during the probate process. You will have some very specific and important duties to carry out to finalize the estate.
Handling immediate duties
Right after the death, you act as a personal representative of sorts for the deceased. You are the one who will cancel accounts, handle mail forwarding and provide the court with all the important documents it needs to begin the probate process. You may need to manage the deceased home or finances as well and carry out duties, such as changing the locks or changing the mailing address.
Your next step will be to handle any outstanding obligations of the deceased. This includes paying debts and taxes. The court will make orders pertaining to these things in most cases, so you will just need to follow those orders.
You also must get everything in place to pass assets to the heirs. This might include tracking them down. You may have to organize the transfer of titles or manage other legal paperwork. The court will often direct you as to what you should do.
Finalizing the estate
Once the court finalizes the probate process, you can distribute the assets to the heirs. Your duties are complete when you distribute all assets.