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Performing your duties as executor of an estate

| Nov 11, 2020 | Estate Planning |

An individual in South Carolina may be named as the executor of a will, which is a legal document that specifies how a person’s assets will be divided upon his or her death. The document may also include instructions about the care of minor children.

Upon a person’s death, an executor may face an array of difficulties to sort through. If you’re in this situation, you may have a lot to manage right off the bat. The following are a few tips that may help you perform your duties as an executor with greater clarity.

Before you’re able to perform probate, you’ll need to locate the original will. This may be kept in a safety deposit box, or the client may have opted to leave the will with his or her attorney. After locating the will, it’s important to safeguard the person’s valuables. It might be difficult to gain access to the decedent’s residence, and you may need a marshal to accompany you. Once you’re inside the home, remove all valuables, write down an inventory of what you’ve removed and keep items in a safe, separate location.

At this point, obtain original death certificates so that financial institutions can distribute the person’s assets as instructed by the will. You can order certificates from the funeral home. If you wait to order certificates for more than six months, you’ll have to contact the Department of Health in the decedent’s state. Death certificates are inexpensive and never expire, so make sure to order more than you think you’ll need.

If you’re an executor of a will, knowing how to manage the different stages of probate can be complex without outside help. An attorney with experience in estate administration may be able to guide you through the process with less stress.