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What steps will you take as the executor of an estate?

After a loved one's passing, you will likely have to handle many tasks. If your loved appointed you as the executor of his or her estate, you will have a lot on your plate when it comes to seeing the estate through probate. You may even have some concerns about the process because you have never been an executor before.

Settling a loved one's final affairs is certainly a significant responsibility. You will need to make sure that you follow his or her wishes while also complying with Florida laws regarding the probate process. Because it can be easy to feel overwhelmed during this time, you may want to better understand what you are getting into.

How to handle probate

Understandably, you may not even feel confident in knowing where to begin the probate process. It is important to follow the right procedures when seeing an estate through probate, and you may want to begin by taking the following steps:

  • Inventory the decedent's assets. By knowing what your loved one left behind, you may have a better grasp of other parts of the probate process, such as paying creditors and distributing assets.
  • Open probate with the court. You will need to petition the court to open probate, provide a copy of the will for validation, petition approval to act as executor and take other steps at this time.
  • Obtain the value of the remaining assets. The value of the estate will be important when paying creditors and knowing how much is left over for heirs and beneficiaries.
  • Pay the estate's creditors. It is important that you pay the creditors in order of priority to ensure that there are enough funds to cover the bills.
  • Pay the estate's taxes.
  • Distribute the remaining assets to the designated parties.
  • Close the estate.

This list is the probate process in a nutshell, but it is important to remember that these are broad, generalized versions of the steps you will need to take. The particular estate you are working with may need additional steps or you may need to take special actions. 

In order to ensure that you do everything you need to do to settle the estate correctly, you may want to obtain the help of an experienced Florida probate attorney. This legal professional can help you understand the probate process and what you need to do as the executor.

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