Estate Planning

When developing an estate plan, people often choose trusted family members, friends or acquaintances to serve as their personal representatives upon their passing. Known as an estate executor, having a loved one ask you to serve in this role comes with great responsibility. 

Understanding some of the basics involved with serving as an estate executor may help you perform your duties effectively. 

Submitting the will for probate 

According to the Tennessee Courts, your duties as an estate executor begin with filing your recently deceased loved one’s will with the appropriate probate court. Once the court admits the will for probate, you have the authority to carry out your other responsibilities. 

Within 60 days of the court appointing you as the estate executor, you must take an accounting of the estate’s assets. The court requires you to submit an inventory that lists the estate’s assets, as well as any notes or evidence of debts owed to the estate and other intangible property. 

Making notifications and handling liabilities 

As the executor of an estate, you must also identify any known or potential creditors. You have a responsibility to notify these creditors of the death. For example, you may send a letter or publish a notice in the local newspaper. Using assets from the estate, you must settle the deceased’s outstanding debts, and pay any applicable estate taxes. 

Distributing assets 

After resolving the estate’s debts, your responsibilities turn to the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate. It is your duty to distribute the estate’s remaining assets in accordance with the will’s specifications or if there was not a will, based on the state’s intestacy laws.