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Understanding your duties as estate executor

Administering the estate of a loved one in New York included addressing assets and debt. However, this is only the first step in a process that may take months to years for completion, depending on the size and complexity of the holdings.

Kiplinger reports that reading and understanding the will’s intent is a critical first step. It can help you recognize how much work your role requires. If you are the executor of a parent’s estate, talking with them about their wishes for their heirs can help make your job easier. For example, if they own a condo or vacation home, you can discuss whether they prefer keeping in the family or selling it and distributing the profit.

Having a conversation that involves all beneficiaries can help ensure everyone understands your parents’ wishes, which can help avoid or minimize contention when they pass away. Here are a few steps you can take that helps make administering the estate run smoothly.

Create a calendar

Once you file the paperwork with the court, you’ll receive the notification that you can legally act on behalf of the estate, along with a list of various deadlines for filing forms and other tasks. Creating a calendar with the dates can help ensure you take care of the tasks on time and according to state requirements.

Get organized

After your parent passes, your primary duties include listing liabilities, debt and assets. You’ll likely need login information for online accounts, account information for bills and contact information for attorneys, accountants and financial institutions. Secure the contents of the estate after inventorying them. This may include moving valuables to a safe location and changing the locks.

Administering an estate encompasses a broad range of tasks that may impact you financially if you make an error. A professional administrator can help you understand your duties, answer questions and help you stay on track.

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