Photo of Karen Lavin

It can be daunting to learn that a person named you as the executor of his or her estate. This is an honor, but it is also a tremendous responsibility, one that you should not take lightly. In fact, you might find it beneficial to seek guidance as you work to meet your obligations and walk through the entire process of probate and executing the estate.

As the executor of a person’s estate, you will have the responsibility of ensuring the completion of the wishes and directions left by the Illinois decedent in his or her will. Your role will specifically relate to the distribution of property and addressing remaining obligations with creditors. It can be intimidating to walk through this process, but fortunately, you are not obligated to walk through the process alone.

Understanding your obligations

Your job as the executor of the estate depends on the details of the will, the complexity of the estate and factors unique to the individual situation. Some of the things you may have to do in your role as the executor include the following:

  • Locating and seeking an appropriate valuation of all estate assets
  • Paying off debts and liabilities left behind by the decedent
  • Contacting all people named in the will as beneficiaries and heirs
  • Paying any remaining income taxes
  • Filing the will with the appropriate probate court and deciding if the probate process is necessary
  • Wrapping up remaining issues related to the estate and making sure assets and money are distributed as directed to all heirs and beneficiaries

This may seem like a high-pressure and high-stakes role. There is a lot at stake, but with help, you can be certain you meet all of the demands that come with the role of being the executor of the estate. No two wills or estates are the same, and personal guidance could be beneficial to you during this time.

Navigating estate issues

The process of settling an estate  is complex. As the executor, you know that you have a special role in carrying out the final wishes of your loved one. It is important to take every step correctly in order to avoid complications and setbacks, even when addressing simple matters related to the estate. 

If you are the executor of the estate, you may find it beneficial to seek guidance and an explanation of your role and responsibilities before you move forward with this process.