The road to successfully fulfilling the role of executor is often filled with potholes. Still, the law establishes clear procedures and time frames that must be met with respect to assets and liabilities left behind by the deceased individual. Following are some tips to help guide you through this difficult process.

  • In addition to handling funeral arrangements, the executor will need to pull together documents such as tax returns, leases, property tax bills, deeds that have conveyed real property, title searches, surveys and more. Securing these documents should be very high on your list of priorities.
  • Also high on the priority list is notifying important parties of the death of the individual. This would include attorneys, insurance companies, the Veterans’ Administration (if applicable), etc. The process is simplified if an apartment rental or single family home is the only real estate investment left behind by the deceased.
  • In New York State, the executor is charged with submitting a full inventory of assets to the county’s surrogate court within six months of being appointed executor. It is also necessary to secure those assets, so it’s wise to change locks, install light timers and call the local police station to let them know the house is now vacant. Consider installing an alarm system if there is personal property of significant value. Take photographs of the interior and any valuable items.
  • In colder environments, remember to weatherproof the property to avoid incidents such as burst pipes.

For some, fulfilling the role of executor will still be among life’s most difficult tasks. A trustworthy estate attorney that you are comfortable working with can make the process much easier and is certainly an avenue to consider.