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Are you the executor of an estate? Here is what to expect

When a loved one passes away, family members or specific people have the responsibility of settling the decedent's estate. In many cases, a person can name someone specific to act as the executor of the estate. This is a person, named in the will, who will oversee the process handling estate matters. 

If you learned you are the executor of someone's South Carolina estate, you may wonder what that means. What are your responsibilities? What will you have to do to fulfill your role? It can be an immense responsibility, and you will find it beneficial to learn more about what you can expect from this process. When you take the time to prepare for what is ahead, you will be more likely to move through this process quickly and efficiently.

What's next?

You do not have to be a financial or legal expert to execute an estate, but you do have to fulfill your duties to the best of your abilities. Your role as the executor does not entitle you to a share of the estate, but you may receive some compensation for your role, paid out of the estate. Some of the things you will have to do include the following:

  • Locate assets – One of the most important things you will have to do is locate all of the assets associated with the estate and keep them safe.
  • Decide on probate – You will have to decide if it will be necessary to probate the will, which is the court-supervised process of validating the will.
  • Contact beneficiaries – You will have to contact all of the people who are supposed to inherit money or receive assets from the estate.
  • Handle estate matters – The executor does things like canceling credit cards that may be open, closing accounts, contracting the bank and more.
  • Handle estate finances – As executor, you will have to set up a bank account for the estate, out of which the estate will pay for things like the mortgage until the house is sold and remaining debts.
  • Distribute property – One of the most recognizable duties the executor has is to distribute the assets from the estate. After handling other things, you will be responsible for making sure the right people get the right assets.

If you are the executor of an estate, you may find this task overwhelming. It can be a lengthy and difficult process, but you do not have to walk through it alone. You may want to discuss your concerns with an experienced estate and probate attorney in order to learn more about what to expect and how you can protect your interests.

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