The executor or estate’s personal representative has a duty to administer the decedent’s estate. Administration of the estate includes locating the decedent’s assets, managing the assets to prevent losses, paying bills for the estate, filing necessary tax returns, preparing an inventory of the assets, locating heirs and beneficiaries, and other duties. The role of the executor or personal representative is to tie up all the loose ends of the decedent’s financial affairs and to distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.

A quick reference list of the duties of the executor or personal representative include:

  1. Take possession of all estate’s property insofar as practicable. Joint tenancy property, life insurance proceeds, and retirement plan benefits (unless payable to the estate) are not included in the property under the jurisdiction of the probate court;
  2. Collect all dividends, interest and other income, and deposit all such items in an interest-earning estate bank account (or accounts) until the estate is closed;
  3. Keep a detailed statement of all your receipts and disbursements for the estate; List the date, source, and amount of each receipt and the date, nature of payment, and amount of each disbursement;
  4. File all tax returns and pay all taxes. You may want to consult with a tax specialist in this regard; and
  5. Keep estate property adequately insured. You should consult with an insurance specialist in this regard.