If your parents in Kentucky have named you as the executor of their will, you’ll quickly discover that the role has emotional implications, as well as administrative tasks. They have honored you with carrying out their last wishes. However, you must remember several things when carrying out that role.
Your responsibilities as an executor
Knowing and understanding your responsibilities, including what to do with assets that must go through probate, is essential to carrying out the role. Keep this checklist handy when carrying out your duties:
• Communicate with your parents to ensure you understand their wishes
• Locate the will and other essential documents
• Obtain copies of the death certificate
• Determine what assets must go through probate
• File the will with the probate court
• Notify Social Security, banks and creditors
• Open an estate bank account to pay expenses
• Locate, inventory and maintain estate property
• Pay outstanding taxes and debts
• Distribute remaining assets
When emotions take over following a parent’s passing, it’s easy to forget one or more of these tasks. If your parents have a large estate, settling it can take considerable time. Most estates take at least nine months to a year to resolve.
Estate administration is complicated
With so many things to consider, it’s no wonder that estate administration takes a long time. It’s also a complicated series of tasks that frequently requires the help of professionals such as accountants, tax advisors and financial specialists to help executors get through the process.
Ensuring you understand your parents’ wishes before the time comes is crucial. If possible, go through all or part of the estate planning process with them. By doing so, you can ask questions and obtain copies of estate documents, making the administration process quicker and easier when the time comes to settle the estate.