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The process of administering an estate

New York residents who are preparing their wills or who have learned that they have been named executors under an existing one may wonder what is involved in being an executor and what responsibilities the position has. The duty of an executor is to gather assets, pay off debts and distribute assets to the beneficiaries.

The executor's duties can be broken up into a number of smaller steps. The executor must first locate the assets and may need to make decisions about which ones to keep or sell. An executor may also need to find out whether it will be necessary to probate the will.

Next, the executor must locate all heirs and file the will in court as appropriate. The executor is also responsible for taking care of the affairs of the testator, and this may include everything from contacting the bank to the Social Security Administration and more. It may be necessary to continue paying some bills such as insurance on property, so the executor may need to establish a bank account for the estate. Debts, creditors and final income taxes must be paid. In some circumstances, a person may have to administer an estate when there is no will. In such a case, or if there is a will but also property that is not included in the will, the administrator must follow state law for its distribution.

Being an executor can be complicated, and a person who is appointed as one may not have a legal or financial background. In such a case, the executor may wish to work with an estate administration attorney. This may be particularly helpful if the estate is a complex one and if there are a number of financial and legal decisions to be made.

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