When a parent or someone close to you passes away, it can be a trying experience. In addition to dealing with natural feelings of grief, there are a number of practical matters that need attention: funeral arrangements, obtaining death certificates, reading the will, probate, distributing assets, and so forth.

This Guide explains key responsibilities and tasks associated with the death of a loved one, with an emphasis on the duties of the estate executor (also known as the administrator). It’s important to note, however, that this guide is not intended to provide legal or tax advice, nor to provide exhaustive coverage for all possible situations. That being said, we hope you will find iProbate useful and helpful, as many others have before you.

The Basics

Fundamentally, it is the executor’s responsibility to manage and wind down the deceased person’s estate, resolving any debts, distributing assets to heirs, and filing legal paperwork.  A somewhat simplified view of the overall estate settlement process consists of the following overlapping steps:

  1. Arrange Funeral — Request burial or cremation, organize memorial, order death certificates, etc.
  2. Take Inventory — Find and organize all estate assets and debts
  3. Become Executor — Get appointed by the court (if going through probate)
  4. Send Notifications — Notify friends and family, social security, banks, credit cards, etc.
  5. Manage Estate — Maintain and care for assets; plan asset disposition
  6. Resolve Debts — Pay off debts in full, or arrange for debt forgiveness
  7. File Taxes — Submit relevant tax returns: decedent income, estate income, inheritance, etc.
  8. Make Distributions — Distribute net assets to heirs
  9. Wrap It Up — Finalize the estate settlement, including probate final accounting (if applicable)

At multiple stages along the way you may have to file some legal and tax paperwork, and while iProbate will supply relevant information, you may find it helpful to work together with a lawyer.

Like so many things in life, being an executor can become an all-consuming activity if you let it. While individual circumstances may sometimes require significant effort, it is iProbate’s job to try to minimize that effort by providing a single source in the disposition of estate assets.