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How to properly fill the role of executor

California residents who are named as executors of their mothers' and fathers' estates have several important tasks to complete. First, they need to talk with their parents and other family members to ensure that everyone is on the same page concerning how the assets will be allocated. After a parent passes away, the executor must locate documents such as the will, credit card statements or anything else that is needed to settle the estate.

At least 10 copies of a death certificate should be purchased and sent to creditors or any other parties who need them. Funeral directors may be able to help executors obtain these crucial documents. A bank account will need to be opened in the estate's name and used to either collect income or pay for the parent's final debts.

The will itself will need to be filed with probate court, and the executor will need to determine if any part of the estate needs to undergo the probate process. If so, it could last several months or years if the estate is especially large or complicated. Finally, the executor of the will is responsible for inventorying property, paying taxes and distributing assets as per the will itself.

Those who are named executors of a will may wish to work with an attorney to settle the estate. Legal counsel may be helpful if creditors or other parties challenge the validity of the will or otherwise raise issues that an executor is uncomfortable handling on his or her own. A lawyer may also review the will itself to ascertain its validity or determine if the entire estate or any part of it needs to go through probate.

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