When someone dies, his or her estate goes through probate, which is the legal process of paying the estate’s debts and transferring assets.
When there is a valid will, an executor manages the estate and follows the directions outlined in the will. This individual has a variety of duties to fulfill.
Petition and naming of the executor
According to the Arkansas Army National Guard, upon the decedent’s death, an individual must file a petition, the will and the death certificate with the county court. If the will does not name an executor, the court will appoint one.
During a hearing, beneficiaries and heirs have the opportunity to object to the executor appointment. The person seeking to be executor must send notice of this hearing as well as send notices to known and unknown creditors.
Accounting of the decedent’s property
After the naming of the executor, this individual must identify and locate all property and assets associated with the probate. He or she must value and safeguard all of the estate’s property.
Managing the estate
The probate process can last for months and sometimes years. During this time, the executor is in charge of various aspects of estate management. This includes:
- Collecting mail and ending subscriptions
- Maintaining upkeep on all properties and finding homes for pets
- Reporting the death to financial institutions, insurance companies, credit card companies, etc.
- Opening a bank account and paying the estate’s expenses, such as mortgage and utilities, and funeral expenses
- Paying all legitimate creditor claims and collecting any owed debts
- Filing the estate’s tax returns and paying any money owed
Distributing remaining property and assets
The executor uses money from the estate to pay for necessary expenses. If there is not enough cash, he or she can sell assets to cover the costs. Once the executor has paid everything, he or she can distribute property and assets to the named beneficiaries.