Checklist: What an Executor Does After a Death

A Checklist for an Executor
  1. Locate the Will: The executor must locate the deceased person’s Will to determine who is appointed as the executor.
  2. Obtain Letters Testamentary: The executor must obtain a court order called “Letters Testamentary” which gives them the legal authority to act as the executor of the estate.
  3. Notify Beneficiaries: The executor must notify the beneficiaries named in the Will of the death and their appointment as the executor.
  4. Secure Estate Assets: The executor must secure all of the deceased person’s assets and property, such as real estate, personal property, and bank accounts.
  5. Pay Debts: The executor must pay the deceased person’s debts, including any funeral expenses, mortgages, and credit card debts.
  6. File Estate Tax Returns: If the estate is large enough, the executor must file estate tax returns and pay any taxes owed.
  7. Distribute Assets: The executor must distribute the deceased person’s assets to the beneficiaries as outlined in the Will.
  8. Close the Estate: The executor must close the estate once all debts have been paid and all assets have been distributed.
  9. Keep Records: The executor must keep detailed records of all transactions related to the estate and be prepared to provide documentation if necessary.


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