Acting as executor of an estate doesn't have to be a nightmare

Being named the executor of an estate, for many people, is an overwhelming thing to take on. But it doesn't have to be. While there are a good many steps to the process and potential difficulties along the way, preparing ahead of time and having professionals to consult can make things a lot easier.

Among the tasks one will take on in the process is to obtain the deceased person's death certificate. This can be obtained from the funeral home. Copies will be needed for notification purposes.

One of the first things an executor should do is locate the estate planning documents. Ideally, the executor will already know where to obtain them. A copy of the will needs to be filed with the probate court, and this needs to be done typically within several days to a month of death. If the deceased person's estate plan is trust-based, it may be able to avoid probate. This can be a real blessing, depending on the state he or she lived in.

One will need to file letters testamentary after filing the will with the probate court. The probate court will need to confirm the executor appointment, and that is the purpose of the letters testamentary.

The next step is to locate the assets and protect them from distribution. Assets going through probate cannot be distributed until the probate process is complete and creditors have been paid. Trust assets may be distributed without court approval, but those under a will need to have approval from a probate judge.

The executor, before distribution, will need to ensure that creditors are paid. If the estate's debts exceed its assets, potential inheritors are not liable for paying them. Creditors, rather, will be prioritized according to the rules of the state. The executor's job is to determine whether the estate can cover all its debts before paying any of them off.

Again, seeking professional advice-particularly from an attorney and a tax accountant-can be an immense help in carrying out one's duties as executor, particularly if the estate plan is complicated. With this advice and a bit of planning, the process can go much more smoothly.

Source: Fox Business, "Seven Tips if You Are the Executor of an Estate," Judy Martel, June 13, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Mr. Teiger, Thank you very much for your time and results. I will definitely recommend you & your firm to anyone who wants to be treated professionally courteously and needs results.Hope all is well.Again...thank you. Regards, Paul L.

msg iconEmail Us For a Response

When you have legal questions or concerns, contact our team at Teiger Law Center, P.C., by calling 678-374-7645, 800-780-2275 or reach us via email by completing our online contact form. From our Cumming and Alpharetta law offices, we represent clients in the Atlanta metro and throughout north Georgia.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Cumming Office
514 West Maple Street
Suite 101
Cumming, GA 30040

Toll Free: 866-726-2153
Phone: 678-374-7645
Fax: 770-406-8858
Cumming Law Office Map

Alpharetta Office
12600 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 100
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Toll Free: 800-780-2275
Phone: 678-374-7645
Fax: 770-406-8858
Map & Directions