An executor is often a family member or close friend of the deceased person. They are entrusted to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are carried out and that the will is adhered to. But this also means that, when someone is named an executor, they have likely never done it before. So it’s natural to wonder what they’re supposed to do and how they go about doing it.
File the will and begin the probate process
If you’ve been named the executor of an estate, you should first locate the decedent’s will. You’ll want the original, not a copy. It needs to be filed with the court in the county where the decedent resided. Illinois also requires that you file a petition for probate within 30 days of the decedent’s death. Failing to do so may lead the court to determine you are unfit to act as executor. Once probate has begun, however, the court will officially name you as executor.
Assets and debts
As executor, you are responsible for determining the value of all the decedent’s assets and the debts they owed. You should compile an itemized list of those assets, both real and intangible. The list should include a description of each item and its location. A list of debts should include the amount of each debt and name and contact information of the creditor.
Part of the executor’s job is to notify all interested parties that the decedent’s will has entered probate. This will include family members, potential heirs or anyone named in the will as a beneficiary. Creditors should be notified as well, as their interests will be considered when the assets are distributed.
Although not required, you may also keep track of your time and expenses spent executing the will. This includes the hiring of financial professionals or legal counsel to assist you in your role – you are entitled to reimbursement from the estate.