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Ask for help if you're appointed to be an executor

Whenever someone dies, it is important for their estate to be managed and collected for distribution. Estate administration involves a number of steps. These include collecting the assets belonging to the estate, paying the debts owed on the estate and distributing any remaining assets.

The person who will take care of managing the estate is called the executor. This person could be someone the decedent knew and appointed to the position or may be an attorney or bank official. If there is no will, the court will generally appoint someone to be the executor. This would normally be a family member or surviving spouse. Sometimes, there is more than one executor appointed.

It is the executor's responsibility to document any assets belonging to the estate. They also have to let creditors know that the decedent has passed away and pay debts that are owed. If there is not enough money to pay those debts, the executor may need to seek court approval to pay only certain creditors.

After paying off the debts, the executor is tasked with distributing the estate. If there is a will, then the estate can be distributed according to that document. If not, then the executor will follow state law and distribute the estate accordingly.

If you are appointed to be an executor and were not expecting to take on this task, it's okay to reach out for help. Our website has more on what it takes to resolve an estate after a loved one's death and why it's important to bring an attorney on board.

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