While being asked to be an executor of someone's estate is something that most will only be asked to do once or twice during their lifetime, it's a role that carries with it a tremendous responsibility. When you're appointed to the role, it's your responsibility to handle everything regarding an estate from locating and filing a decedent's will with the probate court to paying final expenses.
If you've been appointed as executor of someone's estate, then they've likely told you in advance that they've selected you and where they keep their will. Immediately after the decedent's death, you'll want to procure many copies of the testator's death certificate.
You'll likely need to have this handy to send to credit card companies, give to the post office when collecting mail or when attempting to safeguard the decedent's property.
When filing the case with your local probate court, you'll have to pay a nominal fee. Soon thereafter, a probate judge will request that you send notices to each person listed in the will to let them know of the pending legal matter. Each of these notices will need to be sent certified and will likely have to be notarized before being returned to the court.
Depending on the number of heirs, paying for this can be costly. This is why it's important that you track your costs from the start. These amounts can be covered by the proceeds held in the estate later on.
Next, you'll want to inventory assets, sell property necessary to pay off creditors and then pay any outstanding taxes that are owed.
Once all debts are paid, then you can finally turn your attention to taking a final inventory of assets. After doing this, you'll want to send a final release to the heirs letting them know what they'll receive. You can also pay yourself the commission that you're owed. Once you're done with all of this, then you can send the court a final inventory of the distribution of assets.
If it's your first time serving as an executor of someone's estate, then it may be difficult knowing if you're doing everything right. It may be helpful to have a Cincinnati probate attorney to guide you through the process to avoid any potential litigation in the future.