Your loved one passed away unexpectedly, and it has left you reeling. You have to handle their estate, but you don’t even know where to start. You’d never spoken to them about being the executor, and it’s not a job you’re prepared to handle.

In this case, this may be a time to contact an attorney and discuss working with them. After your loved one’s death, there are many legal actions that must be taken quickly, such as filing the individual’s will and probating the estate. 

Your attorney can help with many aspects of this process. They can help you understand your role in this position and take some of the stress off your shoulders by helping with the legal paperwork. They’ll keep you informed about steps you need to take, like informing creditors of your loved one’s passing and making sure you meet deadlines with the court.

Based on your loved one’s estate plan and will, you’ll need to complete a number of steps to settle the estate. Normally, an executor performs many functions including:

  • Paying bills
  • Filing tax returns
  • Collecting assets from the estate
  • Notifying beneficiaries, heirs and creditors
  • Distributing assets and property to creditors, heirs and beneficiaries
  • Filing a final account with the court

If all of this seems overwhelming to you now, don’t be worried. There is plenty of help to be had. You also have the opportunity to turn down this role if it’s too overwhelming for you, which is something you can discuss with your attorney as well. Our website has more information on your job as an executor and what you should do if you need help understanding your role or making sure your loved one’s estate is handled appropriately.